Written and directed by Stephen Dunn, Closet Monster is a surprising dark and surreal coming-of-age story.
Oscar lives in a small town in Canada – his confidant is a pet hamster named Buffy. Damaged by his parents’ turbulent divorce, and emotionally scarred by a violent homophobic attack he witnessed as a child, Oscar struggles to negotiate his emerging sexuality and a desire to escape everything that is familiar.
The cast includes:
- Connor Jessup – Oscar
- Aliocha Schneider – Wilder
- Sofia Banzhaf – Gemma
- Aaron Abrams – Peter
- Joanne Kelly – Brin
- Isabella Rossellini – the voice of Buffy the hamster
This is Dunn’s debut feature and it’s impressively assured. While for short-hand purposes you would describe it as a coming-of-age story, Closet Monster is a complex and complicated film. Despite the complexity and depth of the story that he has created, Dunn manages to maintain a coherent narrative as we follow the struggles of the creative and sexually confused Oscar and his fantasy world coping-mechanisms.
Set in the small city of St John’s in Canada’s Newfoundland, Dunn holds back from making much of the region’s natural landscape until the final scene as Oscar is finally able to let go of his past and move forward into the next stage of his life.
At the heart of this movie is Connor Jessup in the role of Oscar – it’s a brilliantly intense but understated performance, totally authentic as a young guy trying to make sense of the world around him. The ridiculously beautiful Aliocha Schneider as Wilder is a total scene-stealer.
A captivating and compelling movie.