A closeted homosexual teenager struggles with his identity and relationship with his father in Closet Monster. Oscar Madly (Connor Jessup) is an aspiring make-up artist living alone with his overbearing father (Aaron Abrams). After witnessing a brutal hate crime as a kid, Oscar fears the repercussions of people finding out he is homosexual, even though he begins falling for his coworker Wilder (Aliocha Schneider).
Closet Monster is a coming-of-age story that uses elements of fantasy and even body horror to illustrate the fears that Oscar has about coming out, which are compounded by the difficult relationship he has with his father. Oscar pretends that his best friend Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf) is his girlfriend and he has fantastical conversations with his pet hamster Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini). With his new attraction to Wilder, Oscar slowly begins to embrace his homosexuality.
Back in the 1990s, David Cronenberg tackled homosexual themes in his films Naked Lunch and M. Butterfly. More than twenty years later, Closet Monster uses Cronenbergian imagery it illustrate the fears of coming out as homosexual. Combined with a pretty excellent electronic soundtrack, Closet Monster ends up being a very striking coming-of-age story. The film isn’t the easiest to watch at times, particularly during the moments when Oscar’s relationship with his father gets the most heated. However, the use of fantastical elements and body horror makes Closet Monster a very enthralling film.