Parents' Guide to

Beach Rats

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Queer coming-of-age drama has mature themes, sex, drug use.

Movie R 2017 98 minutes
Beach Rats movie poster: Harris Dickinson and three other young White men appear shirtless.

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This is a gritty, intimate character study that relies as much on the central acting as it does the melancholy mood of its stark, shadowy 16mm cinematography. It was Beach Rats that cemented Dickinson -- who plays the central lead, Frankie -- as one to watch (he was nominated for numerous awards and has gone on to star in high-profile films such as Triangle of Sadness and Where the Crawdads Sing). At times dreamlike, most often claustrophobic, the film radiates a feeling of stuckness, of being trapped, both by Frankie's situation and his environment -- the poky family home, the same streets and boardwalk funfair he haunts throughout, never venturing into the city, as his girlfriend expects, on a date. Neither do the ocean waters the boys spend their days gazing toward offer much in the way of hope or freedom. Drink and drugs are the only things that provide the requisite relief, Frankie telling his mother he's never felt more happy than at that moment, when he comes home drunk and high. Inebriation is another place to hide for a character who literally hides his face with a baseball cap and looks from between his fingers when he uses a gay dating site. Painful and bleak, the scenario itself packs enough of an emotional punch without the added tragedy writer-director Eliza Hittman throws in at the end -- a moment that will be filled with more inevitability for some than others, but serves to turn a page on a new chapter, for better or worse.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: August 25, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: November 7, 2017
  • Cast: Harris Dickinson , Madeline Weinstein , Kate Hodge
  • Director: Eliza Hittman
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Female actors, Female writers
  • Studio: Neon
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 98 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language
  • Last updated: December 5, 2023

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