A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.
"Beach Rats" is quiet and thoughtful, and it demands a certain amount of patience, but it breaks my heart that someone would dismiss it as boring. It follows a lost youth navigating the no man's land between teenager and adult as he tries to figure out how to be the person he wants to be -- whoever that is -- in an environment that tells him who he should be. He hangs out with a bunch of losers who speak in a kind of dumb bro language and couldn't string together an articulate thought between the three of them while wandering aimlessly around Coney Island and its environs looking to score easy drugs. Meanwhile, he carries on a secret life of gay encounters with older men while at the same time trying to force himself to enjoy a relationship with a young woman who's too mature for him.
Is he gay? Probably. Does he specifically seek out older men as father figures because his own dad just recently died of lingering cancer? Maybe. But the point is that he doesn't have the tools required to process any of the things he's feeling because he lives in a stunted place surrounded by stunted people, and it's easier to escape into feeling good the bad way than to put work into feeling better the hard way.
More than anything "Beach Rats" is about how hard it is for men to explore their own feelings in a culture that has rigidly defined what it means to be masculine.
- Feb 28, 2018