What to Watch This Weekend: Close

Close is a story of two thirteen-year-old boys moving through adolescence. Léo (Eden Dambrine) has a creative mind and a big heart. He spends his carefree summer days running and playing with his forever best friend, Rémi (Gustav De Waele). While the two share a lot in common, Rémi is shier and loves music. The two are inseparable. They share meals together, overnight adventures, and even the same bed on occasion. When Rémi and Léo begin attending a new school, their classmates take notice of their closeness. As they do, Rémi and Léo react to this attention in very different ways which strains their relationship.

What works in Close is the superb deft handling of a heavy topic that demonstrates both restraint and respect. Close explores very difficult but important cultural themes. Writer and director Lukas Dhont (Girl) uses innocence and honesty to navigate the bond between Rémi and Léo. The result is a very realistic portrayal of how external perceptions and factors can suddenly muddle previously undisturbed bliss. It doesn’t hurt that the performances are outstanding. Dambrine in particular has incredible expressiveness—many of his scenes have him evaluating. His eyes dart around, processing what he sees and hears, and the audience will immediately tune into both his questions and conclusions. Finally, the editing by Alain Dessauvage (The Silencing, Bullhead) is masterful. Likely in tandem with Dhont’s vision, Close chooses what to show audiences carefully and deliberately, recognizing that implication can be more powerful than exposition.

Close goes deep on some sensitive issues, and the material (however gracefully handled) might be unsettling for some audience members. Dhont never shies away from the matter at hand, and asks some very tough question both through and of the characters. Individuals who are looking for something lighter with less tragedy might opt for other choices.

Throughout 2022, Close racked up an impressive collection of notable awards including the 2nd place prize at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature. It’s no surprise why. Close is a conglomeration of everything coming together beautifully: the writing, the performances, the direction, the cinematography, the editing, etc. If watchers can resolve to endure the heartache, Close offers a very poignant experience.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Call Me By Your Name, Mid90s

Close begins a theatrical run starting on Friday, February 3rd, 2023.

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