“Beach Rats” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

11 December, 2017

Director: Eliza Hittman
Screenwriter: Eliza Hittman
Director of Photography: Hélène Louvart
Harris DickinsonMadeline WeinsteinKate Hodge

Synopsis: Set in the middle of a Brooklyn summer, a young man searches for ways to pass the time, interacting with friends, a new girlfriend, and a handful of male lovers as he struggles to cope with pressures at home.

Beach Rats Review:

A freckle-faced drama with Larry Clark inflections, “Beach Rats” scuds through heavy topics; smoking, partying, and engaging in frivolous activities while falling back on the drug-fuelled and sexually-charged antics of the Brooklyn youth scene. Covering hefty ground without the need for a sense of direction, the film feels methodically aimless in its presentation of hypermasculinity and American subcultures, resting somewhere in the space between articulation and experimentation as writer-director Eliza Hittman explores the connection between petty crime, familial disarray, and sexuality.

Blessed by both context and location, “Beach Rats” places the male body at the heart of its line of interest, presenting a filmic Adonis in the form of lead newcomer Harris Dickinson whose toned abs and straining biceps constitute both a heteronormative ideal and a homosexual daydream. Posing for selfies and soaking up sunlight, Dickinson becomes the physical embodiment of a brawny kind of turmoil, his physical form becoming a canvas for shame, desire, and sexual exploration while Hittman fawns over every inch of his bare body as an object of preened and transitional pubescence.

An instant art-house treat with a starkly observational mode of address, “Beach Rats” is a coming-of-age phenomenon, adding layers of value to the words spoken by inexperienced performers as their lack of confidence becomes the essence of an uncertain character study. Viewing its summer of love from a uniquely hesitant angle, the movie experiences the ups and downs of dating, drugs, and drama without veering off into hammy theatrics, exploring the inner turmoil that comes with rejecting one’s own desires in the face of other people’s expectations.


Review Date
Beach Rats