A well textured coming of age story that works and feels unique in certain moments and a bit monotonous or repetitive in others. There are also some tenous plot points that I wish had a bit more teeth to them.
The roving close ups were a lot, also. I felt like I know the lead character’s pores in his nose better than I know my own.
The story falls into the camp of socially relevant and modern in the buzz-wordy sense. Which means it definitely should be told and is doing the job of representing a community - which at times here feels like a bit of a burden. The burden being to present a community with both honesty and empathy is challenging. Can you make aspects of the community (which I read as closeted / claim to be straight gay men) unlikable without doing a disservice to the general population.
It’s tricky filmmaking to both try to show a culture and present a flawed, confused protagonist without. It’s a tight rope that I think mostly works in beach rats but in moments feels watered down.
The protagonists relationship with his friends and their decision to jump a gay they meet online for his weed feels like a stretch both emotionally and for the story. What would the lead be so willing to tell his friends he trolls gay sites for weed? Would they believe him? Do they? He opens up so cavalierly about it it gave me pause. There’s enough suspension of disbelief in a teenagers will be teenagers sense to get away with it, but it felt a little like manufactured drama.
The other sticking points I had were the revisiting of the social sites with our lead - it felt like we’ve already been there and I wanted to go somewhere new in the “underground gay” world. Not necessarily another sexual expedition, but another aspect of the culture that was unique.
Overall the film works and is charming. Not sure it really opened my eyes to anything new or emotional, but it’s good these films are getting made and seen. The more alternative stories that are told earnestly the better. Also, I’m a straight white dude so I’d be curious to know what a gay man might think about the representation.
Fun to see, didn't quite hit me in the gut like it may have been intending. I think the overuse of close ups sort of emotionally taxed me to the point where at the end, I just needed some space. Or rather the lack of space made the final dramatic push ineffective.
Love the coney island vibes though. Really bought the teenage aimlessness and lifestyle that was presented.