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CLOSE MY EYES (director/writer: Stephen Poliakoff; cinematographer: Witold Stok; editor: Michael Parkinson; music: Michael Gibbs; cast: Saskia Reeves (Natalie), Clive Owen (Richard), Alan Rickman (Sinclair), Karl Johnson (Colin), Lesley Sharp (Jessica), Kate Gartside (Paula), Karen Knight (Philippa), Niall Buggy (Geoff); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Therese Pickard; Film Four (Castle Hill); 1991-UK)
“Lyrical drama about taboo love.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

English playwright turned director Stephen Poliakoff (“Glorious 39″/”Capturing Mary”), in his second effort directing, does a brilliant job with this lyrical drama about taboo love. The story involves an architect younger brother, Richard (Clive Owen), and his lonely sister, Natalie (Saskia Reeves), long-separated since childhood by divorce and living with different parents, who live in different British cities but meet in the 1980s and fall in love for a period of five years. Though nothing physical happens, they still pine for each other. After five years Natalie marries the wealthy and arrogant financier Sinclair (Alan Rickman), and they live in a luxurious mansion near the Thames. At this time the married sister visits her brother’s apartment and they have sex. The couple are to move to America, but before that happens the husband finds out about the incest. The supporting cast includes Richard’s boss Colin (Karl Johnson), who is dying from AIDS. Paula (Kate Garside) is the girl Richard meets in the hope she’ll make him forget about his sister. It’s an observant humanistic arthouse film that aptly examines the anguish from having an incestuous love affair. The acting is first-rate, especially by Rickman, while the controversial story is intelligently presented. It relates the incest and AIDS to the moral decay in contemporary London at the onset of the 1990s.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”