Los Angeles Times

‘Close’ to being a great film

Lukas Dhont’s Oscar nominee is artful, if a little too calculated.


“Close” badly wants your tears and, on occasion, it earns them. A flawlessly acted, precision-tooled heartbreak­er from 31-yearold Belgian writer-director Lukas Dhont, it tells an Edenic love story, conjuring a rapturous state of intimacy that gives way to a tragic fall from grace. What gives the movie its faint whisper of the taboo — a taboo that it proceeds to dismantle — is that the love story here happens to be between two 13-yearold boys, Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele). They’re longtime best friends who have grown as close as brothers, with none of the usual hangups about physical affection between boys. Here, even a head resting on a friend’s shoulder expresses a casual but powerful sense of mutual belonging.

Léo and Rémi are inseparabl­e, in part because they’ve both been raised in gorgeous pastoral isolation. Léo’s parents are flower far

In French and Dutch dialogue with English subtitles

Rated: PG-13, for thematic material and brief strong language

Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Playing: AMC the Grove 14, Los Angeles; AMC Century City 15

 ?? Kris Dewitte Menuet A24 ?? GUSTAV De Waele, left, and Eden Dambrine.
Kris Dewitte Menuet A24 GUSTAV De Waele, left, and Eden Dambrine.

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