CHLOE gets a 6/10 due to the fact that I'm doing something with it that I rarely do with movies, because I feel like the circumstances call for it. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of factors that have me almost convinced that something "weird" happened while this movie was being shot that made it fall way short of greatness.
For its first hour, CHLOE was well on its way to being a magnificent portrait of a marriage plagued by that pesky emotion that is so often examined on film: jealousy. No movie that has covered that ground has ever come close to beating out the staggering brilliance of EYES WIDE SHUT... but CHLOE at least looked like a solid attempt for its first hour. However, during the final third it takes such a drastic, inconceivably senseless plot turn, that I'm convinced that something out of the director's and actor's control happened.
Catherine (Julianne Moore) and David (Liam Neeson) are a wealthy couple. He's a professor and she's a gynecologist. He goes on trips for lectures sometimes, and recently, a few things have happened that have made Catherine suspect that David may be cheating on her. Enter the mysterious, beautiful Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), who never expressly says what her profession is, but one gets the feeling that she'd prefer to be called an "escort" than a "prostitute," as she goes out on dates with men and then later has sex with them. This time, though, she's approached by a woman with a business proposition. Catherine wants Chloe to "pretend" to seduce David to see if David responds positively to Chloe's approaches, thereby confirming whether he's really into the habit of cheating on his wife.
Chloe accepts this, and soon, she and Catherine are meeting up periodically so that Catherine can pay Chloe to hear about all the things Chloe "does" with her husband. Since Chloe narrates these things, we never know for sure whether Chloe is actually doing anything with David, or if she's just lying to Catherine... but that's not important, nor is it what makes the movie appear to be a brilliant piece of work at first. What IS important and what DOES make the film have all the potential in the world for greatness is Catherine's reactions to the stories that Chloe tells her about what she does with David. In what should be the film's most pivotal and intense scene, a desperate Catherine takes Chloe into a room, craving to be able to feel what her husband hasn't been giving her for years. We realize that the "heat" in their marriage is gone and that Catherine misses it terribly: "I want to feel what David does to you." Chloe agrees to oblige her, which leads to a scene that guys will probably salivate over (with Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore baring it all and doing more than just kissing), but more importantly, the scene is fantastic in portraying the bottled-up angst that Catherine has felt for years. As we watch the scene, it's clear that this isn't a "lesbian thing," but rather a way to give Catherine the satisfaction she hasn't had for so long... but then something really strange happens in CHLOE. The film contradicts the message that it was apparently trying to deliver in this scene, and instead descends into a stalker thriller. "WTF" has never been a more applicable reaction.
Of course, the main reason why I feel so certain that something strange happened during the filming of CHLOE is because it did. Last year, we discovered that Liam Neeson's wife (actress Natasha Richardson) perished in a completely unexpected accident. This happened DURING the filming of CHLOE, and we later found out that Neeson actually agreed to return to the film, despite the terrible real-life event that had happened to him. The reason why I suspect this of causing the inexplicable shift during the film's last half hour is the fact that those final 30 minutes seem to tweak things so that Neeson's character, David, doesn't have as much emotional involvement in the film as he should have, based on the plot line that the film was following before. In fact, the film's final showdown (a frankly lame violent sequence that is worse than some of the stuff you see on cable) features a curious contrivance that leaves David out of the proceedings, and instead adds Catherine and David's son Michael (Max Thieriot), even though his involvement in this particular moment makes little to no sense. Chloe's ultimate "decision" during this climactic sequence makes even less sense. I could be making a severely unfounded assumption, but there's just too much here that makes me feel like the film's final act was entirely reworked for Neeson's benefit, and yes, if it was because of his wife's untimely death, of course it's really sad and we should be understanding of it, but it doesn't negate the fact that it makes the cinematic experience of watching CHLOE's final moments entirely jarring and confusing.
Now, with what I said above, I would normally give the film a rotten rating, but like I said, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, because it seems that the circumstances that may have led to this "reworking" were out of the filmmakers' control. Also, Julianne Moore's performance is (predictably) magnificent and anchors most of the film's pivotal moments. I can't give a rotten rating to a movie that I know I'll want to see again when it comes out on DVD; I'll just have doubts as to whether or not I'll simply turn it off once there are only 30 minutes left on it.