Closet Monster brings hero out too far into the open

Coming out story would have benefited from giving us less backstory

CLOSET MONSTER (Stephen Dunn). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (July 15). See listing. Rating: NNN

There are many things to like about this Newfoundland-set coming-of-age/coming-out/quasi-body-horror picture, not the least of which are Bobby Shore’s low-key, obstacle-laden camerawork and a carefully calibrated performance by Connor Jessup as Oscar, an aspiring monster makeup artist terrorized by his own homosexuality.

But writer/director Stephen Dunn’s feature debut is marred by an excess of story editing. The heavy emphasis on events from Oscar’s childhood – his parents’ divorce, his witnessing of a bloody hate crime – implies a troubling causality between these early traumas and Oscar’s sexual identity and professional ambitions.

He’s a compelling protagonist, but Dunn would have been wiser to explain a lot less about his psychological formation.

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