Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele) are close. And since they’re both 13 years old, they have no qualms when it comes to showing their affection for each other. But they won’t be 13 forever, and as their emotions begin to close off, social pressures and playground bullying quickly shift them to a familiar emotional place.

Writer-director Lukas Dhont used non-professional actors for Close and struck gold in Dambrine. His ability to express everything while withholding just enough matches Dhont and cinematographer Frank van den Eeden’s camera—which stays close but can’t help but look away during tragic moments. It’s a powerful movie that would feel utterly crushing if not for the happy ending. Maybe it’ll feel contrived to you, but after this much sadness, contrivances might be all we got.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Close (2022)
Directed by Lukas Dhont
Written by Lukas Dhont, Angelo Tijssens
Produced by Michiel Dhont, Dirk Impens, Michel Saint-Jean
Starring: Eden Dambrine, Gustav De Waele, Émilie Dequenne, Léa Drucker
A24, Rated PG-13, Running time 105 minutes, Premiered May 26, 2022 at the Cannes Film Festival.

The above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 30, No. 13, “That’s a wrap.”