Cert: 15 Runtime: 98 mins Director: Eliza Hittman Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Winestein, Kate Hodge and Neal Huff
One of the most discussed hidden gems of LFF this year was Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats. From it’s glittering debut at Sundance this year Hittman’s Beach Rats has received wide acclaim and a stellar performance from Harris Dickinson. Beach Rats synopsis did have a Moonlight feel to it, but Hittman does delve into youth and sexuality. So what is Beach Rats about you ask? An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn is having a miserable summer. With his father on his deathbed and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie (Harris Dickinson) escapes the bleakness of his life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensifies, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman.
Eliza Hittman you have my interest! Beach Rats is a real hidden gem in this great cinematic year. Beach Rats is so subtle, delicate and tranquil. Hittman portrays the confusion and curiosity and social pressure facing in haunting in and minimalistic sense. Using a simple but effective score to create its well-crafted tone. Moving at a leisurely pace, the plot is quite simple to follow–although the story-line does occasionally take turns that the viewer may not expect. The film’s cinematography, which aims for simple but powerfully realistic shots makes Beach Rats even more captivating. The close up shots on faces, hands, lips and eyes elevates the spectatorship of Beach Rats. Eliza Hittman gives a lot of clues to you while watching, she doesn’t spoon feed the audience. The slow burn of Beach Rat’s works well for the film.
The tension and self discovery of the piece really fleshes out due to the slow burn. The raw nature of the tone adds to the gritty believability of the narrative, which is an impressive feat to pull off. As a result, the story is generally quite compelling even though it may seem somewhat repetitive to viewers. Harris Dickinson delivers one of the best performances of the year, for a Brit he can play American very well. His facial expressions, tone of voice and body language are so different to what he is actually doing on screen. Truly an astounding performance. Beach Rats is depiction of Generation z, and the lengths they take to discover their true selves and that difficult journey to accept who they really are. Please watch this movie!