Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beach Rats

Beach Rats, dir. Eliza Hittman, 2017 USA, 95 min. 👍
Thursday, June 22, 7:00 p.m., Roxie Theatre

Beach Rats
Beach Rats is set in the southern part of Brooklyn, Sheepshead Bay, not far from Brighton Beach and Coney Island. Although it is very much still in the city of New York, it is a world away from Manhattan’s gay epicenter. The main character, Frankie (Harris Dickinson, pictured, center; believe it or not, not only not a native Brooklynite, but in fact a posh Brit!), is plodding his way through the summer, watching his father slowly dying, getting high with buddies he only half-jokingly says are “not my friends,” having a strange flirtation with a girl who’s hot for him, and hooking up online with strange men for a little quick, impersonal sex. It’s a bleak existence in which Frankie can’t come to terms with himself.

Beach Rats vividly captures a slice of Frankie’s life, but offers no clues as to his path forward. We just spend an hour and a half wallowing in Frankie’s rut alongside him, wondering whether it will ever get better. Eliza Hittman won a Sundance prize for dramatic directing, which, frankly, I don’t see. I’d rate it as a good film, but not a great film. Still, worth seeing; recommended.

The Frameline program guide has a disclaimer that the film “contains a depiction of homophobic violence,” but honestly it is brief and not at all graphic. The homophobic violence in Alaska is a Drag, which shares the page in the program, was far more graphic and far more disturbing, but didn’t get a disclaimer.

IMDb pagetrailer

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