Close (2023), Director Lukas Dhont, MUBI, 4.5****: Matthew Alicoon



Running Time: 104 Minutes

UK Release Date: Friday 3rd March 2023

Close follows the central dynamic of two teenage boys (Léo and Rémi) and how their friendship is pushed to the limit after a homophobic comment is made about the pair of them. The film follows the strength of their friendship, as well as the demise of it.

Close is a bold and quietly understated piece that is not afraid to tackle the subject matter in a succinct manner. The screenplay by Lukas Dhont and Angelo Tijssens is richly explorative into the consequential impacts that snide comments can have, as you think the classmates are being comically witted but the seriousness of the situation escalates quickly. The comments really set a sombre, silent and intimate tone for the rest of the film, as you begin to see the fragmentation of their friendship through actions rather than words. Facial expressions say a lot and the performances engrain the inner sadness heartbreakingly at times.

The film starts off with a superbly portrayed brotherly dynamic which is integral to the film, as despite Léo and Rémi being the best of friends, there is a genuine belief that they are brothers at times as their chemistry feels heart-warmingly authentic. Actions speak very loudly through their meaningful connotations, as they play a significant psychological role in the film. The nature filled scenery in the first half featuring dazzling imagery of flowers is beautifully contrasted with the poignant and empathetic sound design in the second half, as the silence is quite deafening but also a mediation for coming to terms with grief. The narrative structure of the film allows you to connect and witness a pure and endearing friendship play out, therefore when the second half comes it is quite thought-provoking, as the film tackles child mental health.

Eden Dambrine is mesmerising in the lead role embodying a brilliant charismatic persona but in the second half with the tonal shift Eden’s expressive yet silent performance was compassionate. Gustav de Waehle was beamingly energetic during his entire screen time. Eden and Gustav both hold their own fabulously in a recent run of transcendent performances from child actors such as Frankie Corio in Aftersun and Alisha Weir in Matilda the Musical who have all provided the most gratifying performances from child actors in recent months. The entire cast and crew handle the subject matters with a substantial amount of maturity and self-confidence in terms of what they want to say.

Close can be quite a hard watch at times but as a conversation piece the film excels, as it has a profound mediation on a long-lasting friendship.


Eden Dambrine as Léo

Gustav De Waele as Rémi

Émilie Dequenne as Sophie, Rémi’s mother

Léa Drucker as Nathalie, Léo’s mother

Kevin Janssens as Peter, Rémi’s father

Igor van Dessel as Charlie, Léo’s older brother

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