Close (2022) Film Review: An Intense and Gripping Movie from LFF

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Inspiring Friendship and Healing in Lukas Dhont’s Film Close

Introduction: A Deeper Look at Close

In the poignant film Close, directed by Lukas Dhont, audiences are taken on a journey that explores themes such as love, grief, masculinity, and healing. The story revolves around the deep friendship between Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele), two thirteen-year-old boys who are faced with societal expectations and assumptions about their relationship. Through a series of thought-provoking scenes, the film challenges conventional notions of masculinity and offers a profound analysis of the impact these expectations can have on individuals. As we explore the intricacies of their friendship, we witness Léo’s struggle to navigate his own identity and cope with a range of complex emotions. Close is a captivating film that captivates the audience with its powerful narrative and compelling performances.

The Impact of Assumptions on Friendship and Identity

One pivotal scene in Close sets the stage for the exploration of masculinity and its influence on relationships. When a classmate questions whether Léo and Rémi are a couple, Léo firmly asserts that they are just best friends. However, this interaction highlights the deep-rooted assumptions surrounding masculinity present in society. While affectionate behavior between two girls is perceived as a strong friendship, the same behavior between two boys is often misinterpreted as a romantic relationship. The expectations placed upon Léo and Rémi deny them the freedom to express their emotions honestly and enjoy each other’s company. They are pressured to conform to a rigid ideal of masculinity, manifesting in engaging in “manly” sports and maintaining a detached and stoic exterior. This scene serves as a turning point for Léo, leading him to question his identity and struggle with the confusion of conforming to societal norms.

A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing

Léo’s confusion and insecurity intensify, causing him to distance himself from Rémi, shutting down emotionally and avoiding interactions with his best friend. To explore the ensuing events would spoil the film’s impact, as it is best experienced with limited prior knowledge. Close evolves into a deeply affecting narrative that explores grief, the ability to lean on others, and the transformative power of acknowledging and processing painful emotions. Léo’s journey becomes one of self-discovery and growth, as he learns to navigate the complexities of his emotions. The film artfully illustrates the transformative potential that comes from embracing vulnerability, ultimately leading to a rediscovery of oneself.

Powerful Performances and Technical Excellence

Close’s impact is heightened by the exceptional performances and technical achievements presented on screen. The chemistry between Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele as Léo and Rémi plays a vital role in the film’s success. Both actors effortlessly embody their characters, portraying fully realized individuals whose authenticity captivates the audience. Particularly noteworthy is Eden Dambrine’s portrayal of Léo, bravely conveying a range of conflicting emotions with subtle gestures and expressions. As newcomers to the screen, both Dambrine and De Waele showcase incredible talent and promise for future endeavors.

The supporting cast, including Émilie Dequenne and Léa Drucker as Rémi and Léo’s mothers, adds depth and context to the story, enriching the overall narrative. However, it is Kevin Janssens’ portrayal of Rémi’s father in a brief yet emotionally impactful scene that truly leaves a lasting impression. Janssens’ performance adds emotional weight and further highlights the film’s exploration of grief and healing.

From a technical standpoint, Close excels in various aspects. The skillful use of color by Laurens Orij enhances the film’s mood, with vibrant tones reflecting the boys’ relationship and contrasting with colder hues in environments where they must suppress their true selves. The cinematography by Frank van den Eeden immerses the audience in the characters’ experiences, employing dynamic shots that contribute to the film’s flow. Intimate close-ups offer insight into the characters’ emotions, while handheld camera movements foster a sense of empathy. Sound design by Vincent Sinceretti effectively underscores Léo’s state of mind, utilizing amplified noises and poignant silences to heighten tension and emotional impact.


Close, directed by Lukas Dhont, is a remarkable film that delves into themes of friendship, masculinity, grief, and healing. Through the story of Léo and Rémi, the film challenges societal assumptions about relationships and masculinity while highlighting the transformative power of vulnerability and emotional growth. With outstanding performances from the cast, particularly Eden Dambrine in his breakout role, Close leaves a lasting impact on its audience. The technical craftsmanship further elevates the film’s immersive cinematic experience. Ultimately, Close is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, reminding us that healing and self-discovery can arise from the most challenging of circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Close based on a true story?

No, Close is not based on a true story. However, it explores universal themes and emotions that resonate with audiences.

2. What age group is Close suitable for?

Close is appropriate for audiences with a high school education and above. It addresses complex themes and emotions that may be better understood by older viewers.

3. What impact does Close have on challenging societal expectations?

Close offers a thought-provoking portrayal of the limitations imposed by societal expectations, particularly surrounding masculinity. By questioning these assumptions, the film encourages viewers to challenge ingrained norms and foster acceptance and empathy.

4. How does Close explore the journey of healing?

The film illustrates the power of vulnerability and emotional growth in the healing process. Léo’s journey serves as a poignant reminder that acknowledging and processing painful emotions can lead to personal transformation and self-discovery.

5. How does Close use technical elements to enhance the viewing experience?

Close employs various technical elements, such as color, cinematography, and sound design, to create an immersive and emotionally resonant experience for the audience. The skillful use of these elements enhances the film’s storytelling and captures the depth of the characters’ experiences.