This low-budget Canadian indie film is a coming-of age tale about Oscar, a gay teen growing up in Newfoundland. Oscar’s early years (played by Jack Fulton) seem happy enough until he witnesses an horrific attack on a gay boy, an event that will haunt him for many years. If he didn’t understand the importance of keeping his sexuality a secret before then, he does now. Shortly after that, Oscar’s parents get divorced and his relationship with both of them becomes strained.
As an older teen, Oscar (Connor Jessup) focuses on becoming a make-up artist, using his friend, Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf) as his model. But it’s his hamster, Buffy (Isabella Rossellini), who is his closest friend and confidante. When Oscar develops a crush on a work colleague (Wilder, played Aliocha Schneider), the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur and Oscar’s life gets a little out-of-control.
Written and directed by the very young Stephen Dunn (he’s only 27), Closet Monster is a wonderful and original (and quirky) debut film (it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015), with fine performances by all concerned, great atmospheric cinematography, fascinating music and a screenplay with real heart that keeps you guessing until the end (it’s obviously autobiographical). While its low budget is sometimes evident, Closet Monster gets ***+. My mug is up.