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Beach Rats

Director:  Eliza Hittman
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  2.5

Brooklyn-based Frankie (Harris Dickinson) has a fair share of problems: not only is his father's cancer taking an emotional toll on him and his family, but he's trying to come to terms with his feelings of attraction to men (hooking up with older-types in the woods), so to lie to his macho friends and Mother he uses aggressive Simone (Madeline Weinstein) as a beard (he also abuses drugs and drink ... perhaps to try to 'mask' unwanted feelings of guilt). It's nice to see a female director's take on a male (not)-coming-(out)-of-age tale: Dickinson's notable performance suggests frustration and anger, and though he isn't exactly 'likeable' (his little sister even calls him an 'asshole'), he's definitely pitiable. Hittman isn't quite sure where to take the story, however, and act three resorts to the ol' expected Let's-Beat-Up-A-Gay-Man fallback ... and Frankie remains a prisoner of himself. Perhaps the next logical step was to move out of the area to a safe haven of similar souls - isn't Chelsea and Greenwich Village a train ride away?

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