Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.
The Sweaty: Beach Rats
Harris Dickinson made a splash with his debut performance in Beach Rats, the darling of the 2017 film festival circuit. Given that he spends the movie half-naked, it’s not hard to see why.
Beach Rats follows the life of Frankie (Dickinson), a beach-loving bodybuilder that enjoys hanging with his other shirtless buds, going on dates with his girlfriend while secretly meeting up with other men for sex and drugs. For Frankie, the double life allows him to compartmentalize his own attraction to men; in essence, he can lie to himself. As his thirst for sex and drugs grows ever stronger, though, Frankie’s dual identity becomes harder and harder to mask, and threatens to upend his carefully cultivated image.
Writer/director Eliza Hittman approaches Beach Rats with a near-voyeuristic style; we often feel like a fly on the wall watching Frankie on his quest for sex. The film also has a surreal quality about it. At times, Hittman floods us with dreamlike images that reflect Frankie’s own flood of emotions. Elusive, sensual, and erotic, we recommend Beach Rats for the story.
The shirtless boys are just an added bonus.
Streams on Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes and VUDU.