This is not your usual feel-good gay-themed movie, where after various hardships the gay main character wins his love-interest and/or the acceptance of his family and friends. No happy ending here. Main character Frankie is a young guy who secretly lives out his gay tendencies, but at the same time cannot cope with this and vehemently denies to himself that he could actually be homosexual. At home (a mother and a younger teenage sister, there seems to be no father) and among his group of macho friends he acts like the conventional straight streetwise guy, strolling with his mates along the streets and the beach (hence the Beach Rats) or sullenly hanging out with them, blowing, drinking and cracking macho jokes. But in the privacy of his room he cruises the internet, looks at gay porn and makes gay sex-dates.
This movie pictures poignantly the frustration and the depression, almost schizophrenia, that results from this ambiguity, where Frankie persistently refuses to see the obvious signs that point out his true sexual identity and the potential help that's offered him (like from his mom who gradually begins to suspect what the problem is but doesn't dare to interfere). It's touching to see how witnessing his little sister hanging out with her boyfriend angers him, because she evidently can have what he so desperately wants: a satisfying and legit love-life. When in an ill-fated attempt to mix his straight and his gay life he tells his friends that he meets gay guys to obtain their weed, things take a violent turn and he has to face the consequences of his own ambiguous behavior, all the more realizing that he can't have both worlds, but still unable to choose or even admitting that there could be a choice. In the closing scene this is illustrated by the fireworks that blast above Coney Island while Frankie wanders disconsolately along the boardwalks; early in the movie he himself pointed out that there's nothing romantic or special about these fireworks, since they are repeated week after week. So we are to understand that Frankie feels like nothing will change in his life.
This may be a depressing movie, but it is sincerely and sensitively made, without falling into the trap of melodrama. Harry Dickinson does an excellent and very convincing job as Frankie, with few words but all the more with his expressions and attitude. Maybe it's too dark for everyones taste, but in my opinion it gives a very realistic account of what goes on in the head of a type of gay being-in-the-closet that doen't get that much attention: not a gay man who knows his true sexual identity but stays in the closet out of fear of the reactions of his surroundings, but one that even to himself denies being gay in spite of all the contrary signs, and has to cope with the schizophrenia of that. I know all about it, I've been there. It's a pity that the script didn't provide a happier conclusion, but with me it took until my 40'th birthday, so there's still hope for Frankie.
An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 09, 2017 at 07:17 PM