Beast Beast starts as a tamer version of Kids or HBO’s Euphoria, but only by a small margin. There are fights, there are shoplifting and weed-smoking incidents, but by and large, most of the kids seem to be happy and have no negative intentions. Nito and Krista start to spend more time together, while he simultaneously gets into shadier situations with Yoni, Lena, and Jarrett. As this is happening, Adam starts to get hopeless and thinks he will never achieve the YouTube superstardom he was expecting. Things come to a head in an extremely shocking way, and we see our triad of protagonists at their worst and most vulnerable.
Beast Beast captures the high school experience like lightning in a bottle. It shows us what it’s like for people who didn’t figure their lives out by the time they graduated and just how negative those circumstances can be. It also shows us the fun in the sometimes wild and dangerous situations most of us got ourselves into when we were younger. Mainly it shows us that there are consequences to every action you take, regardless of intention, which is one of the biggest lessons we learn as young people coming into adulthood. Unfortunately, not everyone gets out of these lessons unscathed, and the film spends most of the third act giving us a bird’s eye view into what that looks like.
“…tell us the truth about growing up.”
I always enjoy it when films tell us the truth about growing up. That it’s not all first kisses and pep rallies. Sometimes children have to grow up way too fast and sometimes adults take way too long to grow up. Beast Beast shows us the dark side of youth, which so many people are afraid to do since they’re so nostalgic about their own. it doesn’t do so without joy, though, which is what makes it special. It runs us through an emotional gauntlet and leaves us remembering our own ups and downs along the way.
It’s a great movie about teenagers that does not talk down to them or patronize them, and I think that it’s a great movie for them and for everyone because we were all there once. Hopefully, we came out of our youths better than some of the characters from the film do, but even if we didn’t, Beast Beast lets us know that we will survive.
Beast Beast screened at the Sundance 2020 Film Festival.
"…captures the high school experience like lightning in a bottle."