Closet Monster (2015)

A coming-of-age movie on Netflix about a gay teen coming into his own while also battling his hostile family environment and it’s ACTUALLY GOOD? WHAT?

I’ve seen a lot of queer movies on Netflix. Most of them aren’t that great (see Alex Strangelove). But Closet Monster is what all of these queer movies wish they could be. A coming-of-age movie about a gay teen that seamlessly weaves between tragedy and comedy while giving us some pretty cool shots thanks to director Stephen Dunn and DP Bobby Shore, this movie is definitely worth your time.

This movie heavily relies on the performance of Connor Jessup as Oscar Madly, a queer teen trying his hardest to get into college while also dealing with the turbulent relationship of his parents and, of course, his sexuality. Oscar is someone who desperately wants to fly away from his small world and get into a career of make-up and special effects (which are pretty good by the way), but the world keeps clipping his wings. After his mom left him when he was little, Oscar has had to deal with his borderline-abusive dad while also fighting to build his portfolio for arts school. This story is no big teenager epic, but with every obstacle that Oscar faces, you’re with him till the end. Jessup’s performance gives us a sympathetic character for us to cheer on.

This movie does have its quirks though. As well as trying to be a successful make-up artist, due to Oscar’s lack of friends, he relies on talking to his gerbil, Buffy, who talks to him as well, voiced by the wonderful Isabella Rossellini. He also spends most of his time in an elaborate tree house with different pulleys and levers, because, you know, fun quirky teenager movie. There are a few points in this movie where the quirkiness gets in the way of the actual story, but again, the movie is able to weave comedy and tragedy together and not let one of the two get in the way of the other.

Closet Monster isn’t like most gay teen flicks. It’s not super dark and boring like Beach Rats, or very colorful and tasteless like Alex Strangelove. Again, this movie is funny, but knows when to stop and get serious for the sake of the story. If you’re looking for a good gay teen flick, this is the film for you. If you’re just looking for a good film, this movie is also for you.

8/10