Program 09: Beach Rats
Directed by Eliza Hittman
An intimate and intoxicating coming-of-age tale, Beach Rats is about the sometimes reckless stops we make on the path toward self-discovery. It’s this desperate journey that has 19-year-old Brooklynite Frankie choosing to lead a double life.
The teen spends the hot summer days hanging with his pack of lunkheaded bro buddies, smoking weed and getting into the odd bit of mischief. His nights, however, are reserved for trolling gay cam sites, flirting and putting himself on display, occasionally finding the nerve to meet up with the older men who catch his hungry eyes. As Frankie continues to secretly explore his sexuality, he begins a public romance with Simone (Madeline Weinstein), a pretty girl he meets on the Coney Island boardwalk during a nighttime fireworks show.
Frankie’s late night encounters and indulgence in drugs and alcohol are a means to deal with his desires, but also a way to escape his home life, where his mother struggles to care for his ailing father. But Frankie’s increasingly risky behavior has set his dueling identities on a perilous collision course.
British actor Harris Dickinson makes an astonishing debut, and writer-director Eliza Hittman lends Frankie’s journey a rich sense of authenticity – earning a Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Meanwhile, cinematographer Hélène Louvart demonstrates an eye for capturing tanned young bodies at their most alluring. Heavy with both danger and sensuality, Beach Rats is a powerful portrait of a young man in search of himself.
— Adam Lubitow
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- GRAND JURY PRIZE, Best Narrative Feature – Independent Film Festival of Boston
- JURY AWARD, US Dramatic Directing Award – Sundance Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, Outstanding Screenwriting in a U.S. Feature – Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
- NOMINEE, Grand Jury Prize – Sundance Film Festival
- NOMINEE, Grand Jury Prize – Seattle International Film Festival
- CENTERPIECE SELECTION – New Directors New Films (MoMA)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Locarno Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ International Film Festival