Leo (Eden Danbrine) and Remi (Gustav de Waele) have been best friends since they were little, enjoying playing together and having sleepovers at each other’s homes. However, when they turn 13 and begin high school, things take a turn for the worse when the other kids tease them for being ‘a couple’. One of the boys is embarrassed by this and starts to push his friend away. His friend can’t understand why this is happening and becomes very hurt, upset and angry.
The class goes on an excursion to the beach one day and one of the boys is noticeably absent. On returning to school, the parents are there to meet them and the children are told to find their parents and go to the gymnasium. It turns out that the boy who had been rejected by his friend has taken his life. The other boy now has to live with the guilt of feeling responsible for his friend’s actions. He can’t talk about it with anyone and tries to fill his time with playing ice-hockey. After many months, he finally builds up the courage to tell his friend’s mother that it was his fault that the other boy died. The mother is angry at first and tells him to go away but she soon realises that he has been carrying this burden for a very long time. She reaches out to him and the boy is finally able to release the pent-up emotions he has been feeling.
Teenage suicide; bullying
Close has some violence. For example:
- Some play fighting between Leo and Remi and between Leo and his brother.
- One of the boys at school hits Leo and calls him a girl.
- Leo and Remi fight each other seriously on a couple of occasions, with one of them being bitten.
- Leo falls over on the ice and crashes into the wall several times, breaking his arm on one occasion.
- Ice hockey players fool around, hitting each other with their shirts in the changing rooms.
Close has some sexual references. For example:
- Girls at school tease Leo and Remi. They say, ‘It’s clear you’re a couple’. Leo replies, ‘Do we hold hands and smooch? Bet you do girlie things together’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Close has some substance use. For example, there is some drinking with meals.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Close.
Close has some product placement. For example, YouTube is mentioned in this movie.
Close has some coarse language and name calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Close is a Belgian film with subtitles about a very important, topical issue. The film is slow moving, dramatic and intense but with some beautiful cinematography. The subject of teen suicide in the film makes it unsuitable for children under 12 years, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 12–14 years.
The main messages from Close are to know that words and deeds can have a very profound impact, and that redemption is always possible.
Values in Close that you could reinforce with your children are friendship, the importance of family, forgiveness and self-forgiveness, and the consequences of seemingly mild bullying.
Close could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the effect words and actions can have on others. You could also talk about loneliness, mental health and suicide, including the importance of reaching out for help and support if you’re finding things difficult.