In Closer to Leo (Tout Contre Léo), Leo (Pierre Mignard) is the oldest of four brothers. His family: his mother (Marie Bunel), father (Dominic Gould) and two of his brothers are devastated when Leo tells them that he is HIV positive. As the his family processes this news they are all in agreement that Leo’s youngest brother, the 11 year old Marcel (Yaniss Lespert) cannot know the truth, as he is too young to understand.
Despite the fact that Marcel doesn’t know the truth, he knows that something bad has happened; acting out when no one in his family can give him a straight answer, and aware that his big brother has changed in a noticeable way.
In order to connect with Marcel again, Leo takes him to Paris as a way of introducing his little brother to his way of life, hoping that this will give context to the news that he is both gay, and HIV positive. At times immature, and wise beyond his years Marcel provides both comfort and frustration to his big brother, as Leo who is staring at deaths door takes out his anger on his brother who has his whole life ahead of him, immune to the adult stresses and responsibilities that are being cruelly snatched from Leo.
“Closer to Leo digs deep and feels wonderfully real. Usually cinematic families fly apart. How rare to see a film where the drama comes out of a strong family finding ways to grow even stronger.”
— Contact Music
“Passionate tenderness between principals vividly limns something rare in modern screen drama: A solidly loyal nuclear unit that, despite life’s hurdles, is not dysfunctional.”
— Dennis Harvey, Variety
“One of the best movies ever made about HIV/AIDS, largely because it treats it as just one aspect of the characters’ lives, and is actually more interested in the issues the disease raises as people attempt to carry after the diagnosis, rather than being overly angsty about the infection itself.”
— Tim Isaac, Big Gay Picture Show
Did You Know?
Director Christophe Honoré is quite the Renaissance man. Not only is he a deeply respected film director, he has also published a series of novels, and has acted in eight plays, his last appearance being in the 2015 production of Violent Femmes. As an openly gay artist, Christophe Honoré has examined, and investigated gay relationships through not just Closer to Leo, but also films such as: Girls Can’t Swim, Seventeen Times Cecile Cassard, and Love Songs (Les Chansons d’amour). Review our Gay Themed Films Here