Movie Review: Beach Rats

Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats (B-) is a dreamlike Brooklyn-set character study about an aimless young man who struggles with his sexuality as he tries to be macho for his seaside buddies and girlfriend while leading a furtive double life of Internet hook-ups and drug-crazed dalliances. Breakthrough actor Harris Dickinson is mesmerizing in the central role, and his character’s heartache is palpable as he makes a series of regrettable choices. The film offers frustratingly few tidy endings to the protagonist’s plight while posing an absorbing series of moral hurdles. The film is a sometimes graphic but also intimately picturesque love child of Moonlight, Shame and Crimes of Passion with a plot point or two and hyper-masculine pack mentality that recalls A Clockwork Orange; but like its central character, it sometimes gets stunted on its jarring journey. The film is nonetheless a sleeper discovery and will reward those looking for an arty alternative from recent multiplex fare.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2017

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