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This Closeness

By Jordan Bond | June 17, 2024

Ever stay at someone’s house or hotel room, and you just can’t quite get comfortable? The towels smell funny. The room is hot at night. The floors are squeaky. Maybe the host or front desk worker has an eerie demeanor. It happens. This Closeness by writer/director Kit Zauhar pits a traveling couple in an uncomfortable weekend stay with an awkward host in a tango of emotional and psychological gymnastics.

Tessa (Kit Zauhar) runs an ASMR-themed YouTube channel that has gained a following. She and her boyfriend, Ben (Zane Pais), are in a committed relationship, though not married or engaged. They come back to Ben’s hometown of Philadelphia for a High School reunion. They have booked a few nights for a spare room at a stranger’s apartment for the weekend. The host, Adam (Ian Edlund), is peculiar but accommodating, explaining that it wasn’t he who listed the room but his former roommate who has returned home to be with family. Ben quickly finds Adam disturbing and suggests to Tessa that they keep their distance, to which Tessa agrees.

In the evenings, while in Philly, Ben goes out to meet with his high school friends at a restaurant or bar, while Tessa stays alone at the apartment. Ben’s friend Lizzy (Jessie Pinnick) comes up to the apartment, and though she doesn’t hit things off with Tessa, she is interested in being in one of her ASMR videos. The host, Adam, later starts coming out of his shell and is also intrigued by Tessa’s ASMR techniques. All of which launches Tessa into a spiral of unexpected intimacy and a straining romantic relationship.

“…pits a traveling couple in an uncomfortable weekend stay with an awkward host…”

This Closeness feels very authentic in its plot and interactions between characters. Taking place entirely in a two-bedroom apartment, this film relies completely on dialogue and acting. Thankfully, it succeeds at both. Zauhar and her castmates bring top-notch performances and meaningful emotions to their characters.

The script is written and performed so naturally I often felt like a fly on the wall watching the drama between these main four characters unfold. They feel like people I know went to school with or worked alongside. If you are in the same age group as me (late 20s/early 30s), you are likely to relate to the apartment life setting as well.

It’s a love story but not your typical “rom-com” by any means. The film is a raw portrait of the struggles commonly faced by late millennials and members of Gen Z. An age group that is grappling with a constant fight to develop meaningful and lasting relationships in a culture that is always “online.” Zauhar reflects the feelings that many of her generation have and throws them onto the screen.

Some viewers may not be receptive to the nihilistic tone in the film. Many of life’s important moments don’t result in a happy ending, and there isn’t necessarily one here either. This Closeness will, however, leave you thinking about relationships in your own life and where there might be room for improvement.

This Closeness (2024)

Directed and Written: by Kit Zauhar

Starring: Kit Zauhar, Zane Pais, Ian Edlund, Jessie Pinnick, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

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"…felt like a fly on the wall..."

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