BOY ERASED – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Conversion Therapy is at the center of the film Boy Erased which is loosely based on the hit 2016 memoir book of the same name.
For those people that may not know, conversion therapy is the pseudo-scientific application of psychological or spiritual interventions in the hopes of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual. To date, there is virtually no reliable scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical professionals warn that conversion therapy practices are potentially harmful.
So up front, you know this is not a comedy but a serious drama placed in the harrowing framework of religion's stance on homosexuality. The whole film is shot in a muted tone until the very end and its pacing is steady but sometimes slow. It has a haunting score from the composing team of Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi. The cast all do a great job telling this hard to sit through story.
In the movie, we meet Jared (Lucas Hedges) as he’s preparing to head to a 12-day course of conversion therapy. His ashamed Baptist pastor father (Russell Crowe) insisting that change has to happen in order for Jared to stay in the family. He travels with his mother (Nicole Kidman), who stays with him at a local hotel at night after he undergoes daily sessions run by the head of the program Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton) and his scared straight ex-con assistant Brandon (Flea). These sessions are brutal emotionally. As Jared progresses, we go back in time to see the moments that have led him there.
Is Boy Erased for everyone? No, especially if you’re of the mind that this kind of therapy actually works. Is Boy Erased a fun film to watch? Not really, despite such a talented cast and a subject matter that is undeniably fascinating it's a bit underwhelming at times and doesn’t reach the emotional highs and devastating lows, one would expect from the material. Is Boy Erased worth a trip to the theater to catch? Yes, because it shines a light on a subject few of us know about and because it will probably be up for awards this season.
Boy Erased is a solidly good film and I give it a B+ rating.
Directed by Joel Edgerton
Written By Garrard Conley(book), Joel Edgerton (Screen Play)
Selig Rating B+
Running Time 1hr 54min
Drama / Biography
Limited Release November 9th The Angelika Film Center Dallas & Plano
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, Britton Sear
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.