Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘Close To You’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies by - June 02, 2024
Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘Close To You’

Dominic Savage’s Close To You feels like an improv exercise, but before I get to how I feel about the film, let’s talk about its trans male protagonist. That protagonist is Coburg’s prodigal son, Sam (Elliot Page), returning to the small town after finding himself in a more welcoming environment like Toronto. The film, then, has two plot arcs, the first involving his several meetings with Kat (Hillary Baack), his friend and crush back in high school. The second is him returning to a home for his father’s (Peter Outerbridge) birthday, where everyone welcomes him except for one of his sister’s boyfriends.

This film’s second arc, has Sam having personal conversations with his family, some of them more poignant than the others. One of the more poignant scenes takes place between him and his loving, understanding mother (Wendy Crewson). Some scenes in Close To You, however, feel like part of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler where characters walk in and out of rooms. The improv here also makes some of the conversations feel indirect, which sure, makes sense since they’re avoiding certain topics. The characters’ approach to conversation reminds me of Grace’s rant in Will and Grace about WASP people’s respectability.

I also have some problems about how Close To You depicts the big dinner fight that Sam’s microaggressive brother-in-law starts. But then again, that scene does break an acting/ filmic rule of making sure everyone stays in the same room. Sometimes, good writing is less about insisting on what the characters are and letting them launch into their own trajectories. Sam leaving his childhood home again also means that he gets to hang out with Kat for one more time. And that storyline has more complexities that the film, thankfully, lets play out into freeing and permuting possibilities for both.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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