Verdict: Close is a deeply moving film about male friendship that refuses to give viewers the emotional payoff they crave.

Two intensely close 13-year-old boys are torn apart after people start to question the nature of their friendship.

Lukas Dhont’s Close, which is currently nominated for the Best International Feature Film Oscar, is finally getting a release in U.K. cinemas.

This Belgian drama follows Leo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele), two 13-year-old boys who are so close that they are almost like brothers. Their seemingly inseparable bond is rocked by schoolmates asking them about the nature of their relationship.

The bullying and scrutiny makes Leo and Remi self-conscious of their closeness and drives them apart, with devastating consequences.

Close really highlights the importance of communication and being able to express exactly how you’re feeling. The boys don’t know how to do this and resort to fighting instead of addressing the elephant in the room.

While this is very realistic, it is still quite frustrating as a viewer to watch them bottle up their feelings and let them fester instead of having the conversation that’s so desperately needed.

This becomes even more maddening as the film progresses beyond a big game-changing moment. As a viewer, we need to hear these discussions just as much as the characters do but we are denied them more often than not. So much is left unsaid and it gets rather unbearable to watch. Thankfully, we are given a big conversation towards the end, but it didn’t quite do enough.

Close is a tale of two halves. The first half is a beautiful examination of male friendship. It has a leisurely pace but the dynamic between the two boys is so compelling this didn’t really matter.

However, Close goes on for too long after the bombshell and it starts to drag, which compounds the frustration about the lack of emotionally satisfying discussions.

Dambrine and De Waele are very impressive in these roles. They give remarkably deep and raw performances, with most of the emotion conveyed through actions and not words. Emilie Dequenne is also heartbreaking as Remi’s mum, and Leo’s second mother figure.

Close is a deeply moving film that refuses to give viewers the emotional payoff they crave. It probably won’t clinch the Oscar in a year with All Quiet on the Western Front, but it’s worthy of the nomination.

In cinemas Friday 3rd March.

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