Close to Leo (2002)
"Tout contre Léo" (original title)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  18 October 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 730 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 9 critic

When 21 year-old Leo, the oldest of four brothers, announces to his rural French family that he's HIV+ family bonds are tested. The family decides that 11 year Marcel, the youngest, is too ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Yaniss Lespert ...
Pierre Mignard ...
Marie Bunel ...
Rodolphe Pauly ...
Jérémie Lippmann ...
Louis Gonzales ...
Joana Preiss ...
Yvan's Mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alex Beaupain ...
(as Alexandre Beaupain)
Sylvie Contant
Julien Honoré
Laurent Honoré
Anna Kerivel


When 21 year-old Leo, the oldest of four brothers, announces to his rural French family that he's HIV+ family bonds are tested. The family decides that 11 year Marcel, the youngest, is too young to understand and the family agrees to keep the unsettling news from him. Marcel overhears enough to understand that something amiss with Leo and when the two travel to Paris together, Marcel confronts Leo with what he suspects. Written by

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Release Date:

18 October 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Close to Leo  »

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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Tender and wonderfully real
25 October 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

It is projected that between 2000 and 2020, 68 million people will die prematurely as a result of AIDS. The projected toll is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa where 55 million additional deaths can be expected. Beyond the grim statistics are personal stories that we rarely hear about. Christophe Honoré describes one of the most moving in Close to Leo, a film produced for French television as part of a series dealing with issues facing young people. Though fictional, it deals with a situation that is unfortunately too common -- the effect of a diagnosis of HIV on a loving close-knit family.

When twenty one-year old Leo (Pierre Mignard) tells his parents and two teenage brothers, Tristan (Rodolphe Pauley) and Pierrot (Jeremie Lippmann) that he has AIDS, the family is devastated. Out of concern for his youth, they decide to withhold the information from his youngest brother, 12-year old Marcel (Yannis Lespert) but he overhears the conversation and begins to sulk and act erratically. When Leo goes to Paris for treatment, he takes Marcel with him but the young boy confronts Leo and demands to know the truth. Leo tells him that he is ill and Marcel is sad but accepting. When he brings Marcel along to meet some former gay friends, however, tension between them boils to the surface, setting the stage for a riveting conclusion.

Although I was uncomfortable with scenes in bed involving physical contact between the brothers, I feel that the sincerity of Close to Leo and the brilliant performances by Lespert and Mignard more than tip the scales in its favor. Seeing events unfold from the young boy's perspective gives the film an authenticity that reminded me of the Quebecois film Leolo and Truffaut's The 400 Blows. Unlike some American films that dance around the anguish of AIDS, Close to Leo tells a harsh truth but does so in a way that is tender and wonderfully real.

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