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Watched: 6 December

A number of professional and amateur critics whose opinions I read regularly have fallen for this Brooklyn-set tale of a young man struggling to come out of the closet, hiding his sexuality from family members and his macho close friends, with whom he kicks around at Luna Park on Coney Island. While I wasn’t floored by it myself there’s certainly much to recommend this debut by Eliza Hittman, particularly the performances she gets out of (English) newcomer Harris Dickinson as the teenager in question and Madeleine Weinstein as his girlfriend. I also liked the 16mm photography by Hélène Louvart, who recently did excellent, naturalistic work on Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders; she films lots of close-ups of Dickinson and the other young, male actors, the culminating effect reminding me somewhat of Claire Denis’ Beau Travail, another film which seems similarly fascinated by lithe, shirtless bodies. There’s a keen sense of place, as Hittman is a Brooklynite herself, and the film’s exploration of being trapped and being unable to escape from a neighbourhood rings true; here, even Manhattan seems so very distant. (***)

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