Writer: Joel Edgerton (Screenplay) Garrard Conley (Memoir)
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Madelyn Cline, Victor McCay, David Joseph Craig
Plot: The son of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.
Tagline – The Truth Cannot Be Converted
Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Stunningly Acted
Story: Boy Erased starts as Jared Eamons (Hedges) checks into the church-supported gay conversion program, the son a preacher Marshall (Crowe) and with his mother’s Nancy (Kidman) support, he starts to be taught about what could have caused him to be gay. We flashback to his high school life with his cheerleader girlfriend Chloe (Cline).
As Jared continues his therapy under Victor Sykes (Edgerton) he starts to question whether this is the right thing or not, with the whole class being disguised as an idea being homosexual is a sin and a choice, one God wouldn’t support. Will Jared make the conversation or accept that what is being forced on him is correct.
Thoughts on Boy Erased
Characters – Jared is a teenage boy just starting college where he gets outed which forces his parents to send him to a gay-conversation program. He looks back on his life where he struggled through high school with his own sexuality and tries to understand how the program is going to help him, learning that despite the lack of support in his life, it isn’t about choice, which he was led to believe. Jared shows us as a character based on the author of the book, that at that age, anyone going through the same situation where they don’t know how to tell people or whether parents would approve would become secretive and defensive when questioned. Victor Sykes runs the conversation program, he keeps drumming it into the group that it is a choice and God isn’t going to support them if they chose to be homosexual. Nancy is the mother of Jared, she thinks it is best for him to attend the program and does think that it would be right to go, though she will support him more than his father does. Marshall is the preacher father of Jared, he pushes him into the program demanding he be fix, never wanting to support this version of his own son, seeing it as some sort of embarrassment.
Performances – Lucas Hedges gives one of the best performances of the year, showing us just how difficult life has become, we see how he feel guilty for his sexuality, before showing how his character doesn’t care what people think. Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Joel Edgerton all give wonderful supporting performance showing us just how their characters believe in their actions.
Story – The story here follows a teenager who is sent to a gay-conversation program to fix the problems his family believe he has, here he learns that despite being told one thing, he doesn’t need to make a choice for who he is. This is a story based on the book by the real Garrard Conley who went through this experience, we do see how ignorant religious people are towards the LGBT community because they can’t accept and to show how the conversation programs still being used in this day and age is beyond baffling. Seeing how the program operates can be hard to watch at times, but it is there to show just how backwards thinking they are. We do have the family dynamic too which wants to support, but believe they are right.
Biopic – The biopic side of the film does show just how difficult this time of Jared’s life was, not just him discovering himself, but how people around him tried to change him.
Settings – The film uses the settings well, with the conversation program acting like a prison at times, even being next to everyday locations.
Final Thoughts – This is a powerful eye-opener for people that proves that his horrible ideas still happen in our world when they shouldn’t with some of the best performance of the year.
Overall: Powerfully Acted, Storytelling and Important