Director: Lukas Dhont is also a co- writer with Angelo Tijssens for the film Close stars Eden Dambrine as Leo and Gustav de Waele as Remi as the young barely teen friends (13 years old). They live close to each other and have a very close relationship as friends, playing outside together and after helping on the family farm, spending time at each other’s house having dinner, then staying over. Living on farms away from the school they attend, they also ride their bikes to school daily, morning and afternoon. The script to me was about the established relationship of boys who are as close as brothers, but then when at school, some students start asking certain questions that are intrusive to their friendship status. These questions begin to concern one boy than another and changes some of the habits they have established over the years.
It is a beautiful film capturing the way the families know each other and often seem blended, without a care about how much time they spend together or what this friendship “means” – but it appears they are not aware of how other students perceive them as friends, or how this questioning of their long-established friendship can take a sharp turn in their mental health. The boys are not only close to each other, they both admire each other’s families, to the point of one feeling like a son to the other mother, Sophie, played by Émilie Dequenne.
Different people who view this film may walk away with miscellaneous interpretations of their behavior, most especially since it is a film made in another country. Viewers from any country may have different perspectives, but without a doubt may feel like a gut punch at least two to three times, if not more so.
This film also provides a portion of the scenes to include the grief the families feel. Léo ends up carrying feelings as if this is all his fault. Watching the emotional encounter with Sophie is one that hits deep. It is even harder to watch him visit the home his friend once lived in.
I may sound as if I am avoiding spoilers for this film and I absolutely am. To say much more would be a disservice to the film and to the excellent cast/performances.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and now is an Oscar Nominee for the Best International Feature Film (Belgium).
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) – Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving suicide and brief strong language.
Close opens in theaters on February 3, 2023.