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The brittle beauty of the first half of Close is replaced by predictable metaphors in the second half, which ultimately makes the tale feel forced instead of genuine.

Both the international press and the Cannes jury fell head over heels for Close in May, a new Flemish movie about the friendship between two young boys that gets shattered through a tragic turn of events.

To a certain extent that adoration is justified, because especially in the picture's first half director Lukas Dhont crafts a beautifully fragile portrait of the protagonists, in a way reminiscent of the early films of Sofia Coppola and Atom Egoyan.

But Close is most definitely a film of two halves and the final hour of the movie gradually loses focus and poignancy. The brittle beauty of the first half is replaced by predictable metaphors that are repeated once too often, with Dhont so intent on selling the fragility and preciousness of the tale that it feels forced instead of genuine.

It doesn't help either that Close ignores a perfect end scene in order to tack on another ten minutes that ring the least true of the entire movie, leaving a sour aftertaste in a film that has a lot going for it, delivers some wonderful emotional moments but is ultimately a bit of a mixed bag.

release: 2022

director: Lukas Dhont

starring: Eden Dambrine, Gustav De Waele, Émilie Dequenne, Kevin Janssens


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