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Not suitable under 12; parental guidance to 14 (suicide themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Close
  • a review of Close completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 February 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to suicide themes.
Children aged 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to suicide themes.
Children aged 15 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Close
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Suicide themes
Length: 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

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 transpires 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 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.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Teenage suicide; Bullying.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • 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.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Nothing particularly scary noted for this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The following scenes and images may disturb children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • The rejected boy cries a lot and locks himself in his bedroom.
  • One of the boys wets his bed.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • After the suicide, the children at the school attend counselling sessions. This is quite intense when they talk about the dead boy. The children are all very sad and in tears.
  • A funeral is held for the boy. Family and school friends attend – it is quite sad.
  • The parents of the dead boy go to their friends’ for dinner. When one of the older boys starts talking about his plans for the future, the parents both start crying and have to leave.
  • The scene where the boy confronts his friend’s mother is particularly upsetting. The mother at first rejects him but then forgives him and the boy is, at long last, able to move on.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Mention of YouTube.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • 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”.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Some drinking with meals.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God
  • Shit
  • Damn
  • Name calling, such as:
    • Fools
    • Faggot
    • Pansies
    • Wimp.

In a nutshell

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 makes the film unsuitable for children under 12 and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 12 – 14 years old.

The main messages from this movie are to know that words and deeds can have a very profound impact; and that redemption is always possible.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendship
  • Importance of family
  • Forgiveness and self-forgiveness
  • The consequences of seemingly mild bullying.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • What effect their words and actions have on others. Teen suicide is a difficult subject to approach but this movie could give parents the opportunity to discuss this with their teenagers. It’s important for anyone who is having difficulties in life to be able to talk to someone and to find ways of overcoming their problems without taking such drastic steps.