It’s unfortunate that Boy Erased is a film that is as timely as ever. Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, it’s a film dealing with the author’s involuntary outing and subsequent experience with conversion therapy. Conley entrusted actor turned writer/director Joel Edgerton to bring the tale to the big screen.
Edgerton handles his sophomoric directorial outing (his first was 2015’s The Gift) with apparent ease. He also stars as Victor Sykes, the head therapist at the conversion program. The film doesn’t seek to outright villainize those in the wrong, though it doesn’t pull punches in dealing with the brutality and severity with which the program is run. There’s an entire and equally fascinating film that could be made about Sykes and his life after his involvement in conversion therapy.
The cast is an Aussie extravaganza (in spite of being set in the American South). Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Edgerton, and Flea (yes, that Flea) star as Conley’s parents and the conversion program employees. Lucas Hedges stars as Conley himself. The young actor, who is in a bevy of films this awards season, gives an understated performance that shines a light on the internal conflict Conley suffers through.
Edgerton is as thoughtful in person as he is about the material. Speaking with him about the film revealed some interesting insights on masculinity, success, and the burdens of truth.
More about the film:
Boy Erased tells the courageous story of Jared Eamons (Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who must overcome the fallout of being outed to his parents (Kidman and Crowe). His parents struggle with reconciling their love for their son with their beliefs. Fearing a loss of family, friends, and community, Jared is pressured into attending a conversion therapy program. While there, Jared comes into conflict with its leader (Edgerton) and begins his journey to finding his own voice and accepting his true self.
Boy Erased is out in theaters starting November 2nd, 2018.
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