British actor Harris Dickinson gives a smashing breakthrough performance in Beach Rats. He plays Frankie, a Brooklyn teen having a sexual-identity crisis.
Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman, Simone, played by Madeline Weinstein.
Writer-director Eliza Hittman, a Brooklynite herself, dealt with the coming of age of a 14-year-old girl in her superb 2014 debut film, It Felt Like Love. And her insights, from the perspective of a young male, resonate with powerful impact and internal confusion. In Beach Rats, she crafts a film of erotic heat and piercing delicacy. She was awarded with a directing award in 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Even when the plot gets contrived, the emotions stay true. At 19, Frankie can't understand his own emotions, much less articulate them to himself or his family. His father (Neal Huff) is dying of cancer. And his mother (Kate Hodge) and younger sister (Nicole Flyus) are hardly sexual confidantes. And Dickinson digs so deep into the tension between repression and coming out that you're with him every step of the way.
Watch the trailer below: