It isn’t the first conversion therapy film to grace screens this year, but Boy Erased sure does spring forward with the most emotional depth.
Though The Miseducation of Cameron Post, another film on the same topic, hit screens here in October. director/writer/actor force Joel Edgerton’s picture is far superior.
There’s a trapped rage and anguish embodied in gay teenager Jared Eamons that hits to the core, and his wish to be just like everyone else is evident in every frame.
When his ultra-religious parents send him to a conversion camp run by fanatic Victor Sykes, who believes homosexuality is a sickness, Jared begins to question if he even wants to change.
Based on the memoir by real-life conversion therapy attendee Garrard Conley, and written for the screen by lauded actor Edgerton, this film embodies the raw, difficulty of exploring and accepting one’s sexuality.
Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges is truly extraordinary here as Jared, and he shows a resilience and apprehension in each frame that can’t be overlooked. He’s a hotshot contender for a nomination.
Russell Crowe, in his most understated, heartfelt performance in years, plays Jared’s preacher father, who can’t deal with his son’s sexuality. Nicole Kidman is a mother caught between falling in line with her husband and her religion, and loving her only son unconditionally.
Though Crowe may not make it to the Oscars this year, he turns in a nuanced performance. However, he’s outshined by the outstanding, unbelievable Kidman.
With other great performances from writer-director Edgerton as the camp director, and a small part for gay pop icon Troye Sivan, this is an ensemble that will stir you from the inside out.