Beach Rats

With It Felt Like Love (2013) and now this second feature, writer-director Eliza Hittman comes across as a milder, less provocative version of Larry Clark (Kids, Bully). Like Clark, she explores the sexuality of adolescent and young adult characters in a manner that feels more closely related to still photography than narrative cinema; unlike Clark, she’s too timid to confront her prurient interests head-on. Her main character, a teenage boy in Brooklyn, hangs out with macho delinquents, picking pockets and doing drugs; he also has sex with strange men, though he can’t admit to his pals (or himself) that he’s gay. Hittman, trying to pass off her sensationalistic tale as a study in grief, suggests that the teen misbehaves only because he can’t cope with his father’s terminal cancer.