Close To Leo

"Excellent"

Close To Leo Review


If you grew up bickering with your siblings, you'll be jealous of the French family you see sitting around the table as Close to Leo begins. Mom and Dad (Dominic Gould and Marie Bunel) have apparently done a great job because 21-year-old Leo (Pierre Mignard), his two teenage brothers Tristan (Rodolphe Pauley) and Pierrot (Jeremie Lippmann), and 11-year-old Marcel (Yannis Lespert) all get along famously and couldn't be closer. Not even Leo's homosexuality has caused a problem. Everything is just fine until Leo gathers the family, excluding Marcel, and announces that he's tested positive for HIV.

Naturally the family quickly closes ranks and decides together that it's best not to tell Marcel, who is too young to handle such bad news. The problem is that Marcel has overheard some of the conversation, and he knows something is going terribly wrong in his perfect world.

Tristan and Pierrot do whatever they can to support Leo's quickly flagging spirits. Plunged into depression, he doesn't want to bother with the complicated course of daily medications and their side effects. Sensitive Marcel picks up on all the bad vibes around the house, demands answers, and getting none, starts to behave erratically himself. The family finds itself put to the test as never before.

Eventually Leo decides to go for specialized treatment in Paris and gets the OK to take Marcel along on what the family hopes will be a road trip that will calm them both down. Unfortunately, Marcel's excitement quickly cools as he meets some of Leo's old city friends and former lovers, and Leo isn't well served by all the reunions either. The brothers fight and pull apart, and the stage is set for a devastating farewell as Leo decides to send Marcel home to the family, not knowing if they will ever meet again.

Director Christophe Honoré dares to make Marcel the emotional center of this deeply felt film, and luckily, Lespert rises to the challenge, turning in one of the best juvenile performances of recent years. Marcel goes through a lot and hangs tough throughout, even when an enraged Leo mocks him for thinking that life, even for an 11 year old, is supposed to be some sort of endless party. It's selfish and cruel of Leo to force Marcel to confront all they find in Paris, and it's obvious to the viewer, if not to the pained Marcel, that Leo is doing it in order to drive Marcel away and make their separation less excruciating. But Marcel knows how tightly the brothers are bonded, and he remains as resolute as any kid can in such an awful situation. His love and loyalty is incredibly moving as is the love and loyalty of the entire family as Marcel returns home, his sad Gallic eyes looking sadder than ever.

Close to Leo digs deep and feels wonderfully real. Usually cinematic families fly apart. How rare to see a film where the drama comes out of a strong family finding ways to grow even stronger.

Aka Tout Contre Léo.

Too close!



Close To Leo

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 18th October 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Christophe Honoré

Starring: Yaniss Lespert as Marcel, as Léo, as Mother, as Tristan, Jérémie Lippmann as Pierrot, as Father, Louis Gonzales as Yvan, as Yvan's Mother

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.