Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, “Boy Erased” tells the story of how Jared Eamon’s (Lucas Hedges) life is thrown into turmoil when, at 19, he is outed by a college classmate.
When Jared’s parents find out he is gay, his Baptist Preacher father (Russell Crowe) and religious mother (Nicole Kidman), as advised by their religious community, decide the best thing for their son is to put him in, a church supported, conversion therapy course. Jared attends out of fear of, not only be shunned by his community, but by those he loves the most too – his parents.
This film is a very difficult watch, however it is a very important story to be told as in today’s world there are still 36 US states, and numerous countries around the world where conversion therapy is legal.
Instead of contributing to the hate, this film comes from a place of love. It doesn’t set out to vilify the parents, instead, it asks the question, how can a family who love each other so much cause their son so much pain?
Jared’s parents truly believed that they weren’t doing bad things to him, they were actually doing this for him. That is one of the most heart breaking parts of the whole film. Dictated to by religion, they (initially) failed to see that what they were doing for their son was causing him so much pain and suffering.
There are outstanding performances from all of the cast. However, Kidman’s portrayal of Jared’s mother who is torn by the love for her child, the right thing for him, and what her religion tells her is the right thing to do for him, is gut wrenching.
Writer/Director, Joel Edgerton, lets the story unfold and doesn’t opt for sensationalism or over dramatics to evoke emotion from the audience. Sometimes this makes for very slow film making but in this case it works as you really take in what is happening.
I left the cinema feeling anger (that in today’s society this can still be happening), sadness (how can love be something that is not celebrated?), and hope. “Boy Erased” is not an easy watch but it is a must see.
“Boy Erased” is in Irish cinemas now.