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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Mar 15, 2024

Elliot Page shines in the improvised emotional landscape of ‘Close to You’

In a world where the silver screen is often dominated by high-octane blockbusters and formulaic narratives, Dominic Savage's "Close to You" emerges as a breath of fresh air. Elliot Page delivers a performance of such raw authenticity that it stands as a testament to the profound impact of unscripted storytelling. Opening the BFI Flare, London’s LGBTQIA+ film festival, this film is not just a cinematic experience but an emotional sojourn that echoes with the reverberations of real life.

Close to You" is a poignant exploration of identity, belonging, and the inexorable pull of one's origins. Page, in a role that mirrors aspects of his own journey, portrays Sam with a nuanced vulnerability that is nothing short of captivating. His return to his hometown, laden with the complexities of a past both tender and traumatic, unfolds with a palpable intensity that scripted films seldom achieve.

Dominic Savage, known for the groundbreaking "I Am..." anthology series, continues his foray into the intimately personal narratives with this film. The decision to forgo a traditional script allows for an organic evolution of character interactions that feel achingly real. Page's admission of the initial terror faced when stepping into this improvised space only serves to underscore the courage inherent in the film's creation.

The chemistry between Page and Hillary Baack is a delicate dance of unspoken histories and the shared experience of growing up with different battles. Their interactions, undefined by the rigid lines of a pre-written dialogue, allow the audience to witness a spectrum of emotions that are as genuine as they are spontaneous.

"Close to You" is not just Page's return to feature films since 2017; it is a homecoming to the intrinsic love of acting. The cathartic journey undertaken by both character and actor melds into a narrative that is as much about Sam's reconciliation with the past as it is about Page's rekindling of a forgotten passion for performance.

The film's improvised approach may not be for the faint-hearted, but it is precisely this raw, unfiltered progression that captivates and resonates. When the lines between actor and character blur, what emerges is a story told with an honesty that scripted cinema rarely achieves. "Close to You" stands as a powerful reminder that sometimes the most compelling stories are those that are allowed to write themselves.

In conclusion, "Close to You" is a film of unassuming strength, a quietly revolutionary piece that champions the beauty of authenticity. It is a poignant reminder that the most profound stories are often those that come from a place of truth, resonating with the experiences of those both on screen and in the audience. Elliot Page and Dominic Savage have crafted a film not just to be watched, but to be felt, a narrative that echoes long after the credits roll.

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