Mike Nichols: Look Homeward, Auteur

001nichols.jpgCulture critics across the spectrum agree: Mike Nichols returns to his roots with his latest film, Closer.
But which roots? No one seems closer to agreement:

Mike Nichol’s latest movie, ‘Closer,’ adapted from a play by the British dramatist Patrick Marber, is about four people, arranged in crisscrossing couples, who spend most of two hours slicing one another to bits with witty and vengeful repartee. In this respect it is a lot like his first movie, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,’ which in 1966 was adapted from Edward Albee’s celebrated play, which to this day remains unequalled in its portrayal of heterosexuality as a form of ritualized verbal blood sport.
(Who’s Returning to Virginia Woolf?, by A.O. Scott, The New York Times, Nov. 28, 2004.)


Thirty-three years ago, director Mike Nichols tackled love, sex, betrayal and relationships in a frank and unflinching fashion with ‘Carnal Knowledge.’ That film, which starred Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Candice Bergen and Ann-Margret, became a classic for its refusal to sugar-coat emotional tangles and for its utter lack of a sun-drenched, music-swelling happy ending.
With ‘Closer,’ he returns to this familiar battlefield and finds, well, things haven’t gotten rosier over the years.

(‘Closer’ to the Truth, by Andy Cocker, The New York Post, Nov. 28, 2004.)

Personally, I thought it was a return to The Day of the Dolphin.