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58th Chicago International Film Festival: Close Review


In life, having friends is essential. Friends are for connection. They are also the ones that can be talk to in times of sadness. Close is about friendship. Close displays a strong bond between two close friends. It does so with empathy, encouragement, and moments of disconnect.

Director Lukas Dhont is surreal with the friendship emotions in Close. There is good times and bad times between the two friends in the film. Also, there are intriguing behaviors that are startling. Despite the emotional aspects, Close is a poetic drama that is visually spectacle.

I will now elaborate on the plot of Close. The film gears on two teen boys. They are Leo (played by Eden Dambrine) and Remi (played by Gustav De Waele). They are two friends that are as close as brothers. Once school begins for Leo and Remi, they both start to drift apart. Remi starts to struggle with depression. This causes Remi to commit suicide. With Leo heartbroken and suffering the loss of his friend, he feels he is the reason why Remi decided to end his life.

Leo is determined to take responsibility for what happened to Remi. His determination is powerful as is the emotions of Remi’s death. Close is a portrait of one boy seeking to do what is right after losing one friend that meant the world to him. Close is a masterpiece of realism and sympathy. It will take viewers breath away.

As Leo suffers, Close reminds its viewers that words or actions truly can hurt. Leo feels his choices with Remi were wrong. As the fun times from the past with Remi enter Leo’s mind, it makes him think back to his errors. Leo is not a bad person. Leo is just a human-being, and Remi was having mental health issues. Leo is the one that drives the powerful force of acting for the death of Remi.

Close will make viewers cry. Close will shine with uplifting realizations. Close is a masterpiece. It is one of the best films of the year. It is also one of the most realistic portraits of life that I have seen in a long time. It will remind us of how the choices we make can have consequences. It will also remind us how we can help others. Despite what happened to Leo’s friend, there is still good he can do for the world. Four stars for Close.

Drive My Car Review


Drive My Car, from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, is a Japanese language film with universal contemporary values that are displayed with empathy and artistry. The film, winner of the Best Screen Play award at the Cannes Film Festival, can be harrowing and sad, but it is a compelling story and a visual experience that will take your breath away.

The main character in Drive My Car is Yusuke Kafuku, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima. Yusuke is an actor and stage director, and he lives in Japan with his wife Oto, played by Reika Kirishima. Oto is a playwright, and she and Yusuke live a life of creativity, love, and commitment to each other. But Yusuke’s life takes a tragic turn when, just as he is about to start a stage production, he finds out he has glaucoma and then his beloved wife Oto dies. Yusuke is a stoic man and he continues with the stage production. He hires a chauffeur, Misaki Watari, played by Toko Miura. Yusuke makes directing his top priority, but it is obvious that he is struggling with his wife’s death.

Yusuke soon finds himself at odds with his production cast, and he unsure of their confidence in him. He begins to question himself as a person, and that affects his production even more. But as he becomes more at odds with those in his production, he finds a growing connection with Misaki, his chauffeur.

Losing someone we love is a tragedy that remains with us forever but, as Drive My Car reminds us, that is just how life goes sometimes. And there is always a path forward.

I loved Drive My Car. Despite its almost three hour length, I was hooked on it from the beginning to the end. The dialogue was inviting, the issues were inviting if difficult, and the outcomes were inviting as well. Four stars for Drive My Car.