Close – portrayal of the innocence of youth, and the dangers of peer pressures
Thirteen year olds Léo and Rémi spend the long summer holidays in innocent intimacy, but come the school year, their close friendship is thrown into disarray as their relationship is noticed and commented on by their contemporaries. In reaction to their sometimes insulting or intrusive comments, Léo attempts to distance himself from Rémi. with an unfortunate outcome that leaves Léo in distress and creating a bond with Rémi’s mother, Sophie.
This is a very touching film that digs deep into the confusing youthful bonds that teenagers form as they discover themselves. It appears Léo and Rémi have been childhood friends for sometime, having grown up together, and doing the regular kid stuff like sleepovers, horseplay, and getting into mischief. They have formed a special relationship, one that is based on innocence, until the perils of teenage and adulthood often take away from us.
Rémi appears to be more the sensitive of the two, but the care each shows for one another is equal. At school, a few of their classmates question their closeness, compassionately asking if they are more than friends. Others are more assertive and cruel, using derogatory terms against the two of them. It’s this incident that frightens Léo, afraid to be lumped into the taboo topic of queerness. He then begins distancing himself and not wanting to spend as much time with Rémi, but more for show to the others than his true feelings.
When Léo receives some unfortunate and devastating news about his best friend Rémi, it’s too late to turn things around. His true emotions shine through as he longs for his best friend, despite finding others to hang out with. It’s an emotional film that delves into the topic of how a few harsh words on a young individual, especially perhaps someone questioning their sexuality, might have dire consequences.
This is Belgium’s entry as the best international feature film for the 2023 Oscars. French, with English subtitles.
Available from A24 Films.
DIRECTED BY: Lukas Dhont
WRITTEN BY: Lukas Dhont & Angelo Tijssens
CAST: Eden Dambrine, Igor Van Dessel, Émilie Dequenne, Léa Drucker
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.