Boy Erased

MA15 115 mins

About the film

Director: Joel Edgerton
Actors: Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges
BOY ERASED adapted by Joel Edgerton from Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same title, tackles the subject of conversion therapy, a technique that is a mix of religious dogma and dubious science whose cruelty and ineffectiveness have been amply documented.
Set in the mid-2000s, 18-year-old Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges, “Lady Bird,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) is sent to a gay conversion therapy program by his Baptist preacher father, Marshall (Russell Crowe), and mom and pastor’s wife, Nancy (Nicole Kidman), after Jared’s same-sex attraction is revealed in roundabout fashion after being cruelly outed in a disturbing incident.

The program is led by an over-the-top leader (Joel Edgerton), who makes the group share the deepest of wounds as some sort of twisted proof that his parents didn't provide them with enough “normalcy,” and that this lack of normalcy is the reason they're gay or lesbian.

The performances in BOY ERASED are excellent and layered under the thoughtful direction of Ausssie Joel Edgerton. The young actor Lucas Hedges, who was first introduced to audiences in the wonderful Manchester By the Sea is a solid and powerful. Physically, he’s handsome, but not too handsome—he seems like a kid from your math class. You now this kid. We all do.

BOY ERASED, doesn't take potshots at religious conservatives. Bolstered by uniformly superlative performances — including memorable supporting turns from Flea and Xavier Dolan — the film considers what it means to reconcile one's upbringing with one's own self-respect and moral truths. In so doing, Edgerton contributes to a larger conversation that might help heal us all.

It’s interesting to note that fourteen states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy, which still leaves a lot of young people vulnerable to the kind of treatment Jared undergoes.

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