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Close To Leo [2003] [DVD]

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Yaniss Lespert, Pierre Mignard, Marie Bunel, Rodolphe Pauly, Jérémie Lippmann
  • Directors: Christophe Honoré
  • Writers: Christophe Honoré, Diastème
  • Producers: Serge Moati, Sophie Deloche
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Peccadillo Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 19 April 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001K2L74
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,415 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Family drama set in Brittany, France. Marcel (Yannis Lespert) is 12 years old, and longs to be treated like an adult by his older brothers - but his mother and father want him to remain as the family's little prince. When Marcel overhears his brother Léo (Pierre Mignard) tell the family that he has AIDS, and that the youngest son is to be protected from the news, he grows increasingly frustrated at watching his family tiptoe around the subject, until finally he snaps and challenges them to speak the truth.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Family dynamics break down when Leo reveals he is HIV+. His youngest brother, Marcel, knows something is wrong is frustrated at being excluded. Tender scenes follow as Leo and Marcel spend time together and travel to the city, their philial love stretched and affirmed.
Even if you do not speak French, the emotional content is self evident and the central characters are well developed.
Not a Hollywood clone, something altogether more thoughtful and provoking.
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The French title is `Tout Contre Leo'.

Leo, a younger-looking Alan Cumming, is the eldest of four brothers in a close-knit and easy-going family from Brittany. Shot in a realistic style, often with a handheld camera, the Breton skies are often grey. Leo is diagnosed with HIV and the rest of the family seek to hide this fact from twelve-year-old Marcel, the youngest sibling. But Marcel has other ideas: "I'm sick of being excluded. You treat me like a baby." And he knows most, if not all that is going on. By trying to protect Marcel from life's hurts and complications, life is made more hurtful and complicated for poor Marcel.

Don't let the HIV aspect put you off this movie; it's really only a thread on which to hang the story of Leo's turbulent relationship with his youngest brother. For when Leo decides to revisit his past in Paris, he takes Marcel along with him for some brother-bonding. When Leo starts throwing his HIV medication into the canal, young Marcel grabs a handful of the tablets and pretends to swallow them, so upset is he of the fear of losing his brother. Who's the kid: Marcel or Leo?

With Christophe Honore both writing the script and directing, one wonders if this film is some kind of personal memoir, but, alas, there are no extras to tell us, apart from other promos and trailers of other movies.
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Format: DVD
"Close to Leo" should have been titled "Close to Marcel". Then the title would have had more to do with the story. Marcel is the youngest of four brothers. The oldest one, Leo, finds out that he has AIDS.
And in that moment appears very first "?" in that storyline. Is it really AIDS or HIV? Leo is 21. It is hard to believe that AIDS managed to develop to such degree that he will die.
I tried to understand the reasons behind Leo's actions, but I just wasn't able. There is too many unclear parts in this story. Why did he visit his ex-boyfriend? Why did he throw away the pills? Why didn't he want to start the treatment? And so on.
Instead of focusing on Leo's plot, the director decides to set his magnifying glass on the youngest Marcel...Which is not bad, but didn't help the viewer understand the choices that are made by Leo.

The film is well played, for sure. But the storyline didn't meet my expectations.
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Format: DVD
A beautifully judged and finely balanced look at the fall-out when a family is rocked by the news that the eldest brother has HIV, this film looks at the triangle of conflict that arises when 19 year-old Leo wants 12 year-old Marcel to be told the news, and his parents don't. Trying to hide things in such a tight-knit quartet of brothers is extremely difficult and ultimately futile. Pierre Mignard and Yannis Lespert are electric as Leo and Marcel, and Marie Bunel is quietly devastating as the mother.
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Hard to believe this was a TV drama; one would never guess from the production and performances which are exceptional. There are two scenes which are superflous (mentioned by others)but apart from that there is nothing to dislike about the movie. Very pleased I bought it.
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By davidsol on 27 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very good film. A little dry in parts could do to be livened up.Do not see why we have to wright 14 words when a few says it all
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By pedro on 5 Jan. 2012
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This is a sensitive story of a family where one of four sons (Leo) has Aids, & the youngest son adores his elder, sick. brother, but the psychology of Leo is not properly explored, & the younger brother is left baffled by the way the story unfolds.
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SPOILERS AHEAD. If this film had been set in the early nineties before there were effective treatments to suppress the virus (HIV) then I would have understood it. It just raised more questions for me than it answered. Why did the brother stop taking treatment? He wasn't on treatment for long and just gave up. He went to see his former partner but didn't disclose his status. Why? So why see the partner? I think the film tries to do too many things. It seeks to look at the impact of the oldest son's AIDs diagnoses on the whole family and especially the youngest brother, but it doesn't do this well. It implies the oldest brother is struggling with his diagnoses and treatment but he doesn't take his treatment for long and we don't actually get to see what this struggle is about or why he doesn't take his treatment. It ends with a funeral which we are left to believe is the oldest brother's (Leo) but we don't see him ill, we don't know why he refused treatment etc. In the words of the song 'there are more questions than answers.' None of this worked for me. It seemed to have all the drama and pain of the pre-treatment era but is set at a time when people had access to treatment and death rates were falling. It was kind of anachronistic for me with far too many plot holes.
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