By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is the new coming-of-age-drama from Belgian director/screenwriter Lukas Dhont
("Girl"). The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (May 2022) to critical acclaim. It is also nominated for "Best International Feature Film" at the 95th Annual Academy Awards.
This heart-warming story is about a friendship between two 13-year-old boys played by Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele in their debut, feature film. Based on their star turn here, these youngsters have a bright future ahead of them.
Leo (Dambrine) and Remi (De Waele) are vibrant, playful kids and neighbors, that love running riding their bikes, drawing, play fighting and even napping together. They are inseparable.
When they head back to school after summer break, the other kids notice them always hanging out together and soon begin to tease them about being a couple. They are a couple of best friends. Nothing more. Still, that doesn't prevent the whispers and giggling from their schoolmates.
As much as Leo and Remi try to ignore them, it starts to wear Leo down more than Remi. Leo wants to fit in at school with the other kids, but he doesn't want to ruin his friendship with Remi either who isn't as outgoing as he is.
The peer pressure Leo encounters becomes too much. So, he begins to slowly distance himself from Remi and hang out with other students. He suggests that Remi do the same. Over time, Leo becomes annoyed by Remi and gets a bit more assertive about them being together. Their once boys-will-be-boys roughhousing moments turn less playful and more physical.
Leo's participation in other school activities like playing ice hockey seems like a welcome distraction from Remi, but his heart really isn't into the game. He misses his friend.
The longer they are apart, the more Remi becomes withdrawn especially at home which concerns his mother Sophie (Emilie Dequenne, TV's "Quotidien") and father Peter (TV's "Two Summers"). And for good reason. Something suddenly happens to Remi that no one expected. The horrific event drastically changes everyone, especially Leo who will never be able to forgive himself for shutting Remi out of his life.
"Close" is both beautiful and tragic. It starts slow, but this stirring film about love and loss from screenwriter/director Lukas Dhont, envelops you with its style and grace and leaves an impression long after the credits roll.
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Look At This Trailer For "CLOSE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.