Based on a true story, you see how not everyone has the opportunity to live their “real” life. As much as you cannot believe people think this way – that being a homosexual is a sin or that it is a choice – it happens. Everywhere. Within families who love each other. Parents or people who do this are not necessarily evil. That is one of the messages of this film. It attempts to give sides of this story which we have not examined before. Love can still exist within a harmful way of thinking.
Being the teenage son of a Baptist preacher in a small Southern town in Arkansas means plenty of pressure for Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges – Lady Bird, Manchester by the Sea). Loads of expectations and eyes are on him at all times. When, due to some rumours and a phone call to his father (Russell Crowe – LA Confidential, Gladiator), it comes to light that Jared is gay, his parents don’t know how to handle it. They love their son, but cannot due to their religious beliefs reconcile or accept the fact that he is gay. So they, with his mother (Nicole Kidman – Moulin Rouge!, The Others) being a little unsure, decide to send Jared to a conversion therapy program.
He agrees and commits to it. But meeting a guy (Joe Alwyn – The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots) and coming in conflict with the leader of the program, Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton – Loving, Black Mass) makes him rethink what he is doing. Jared tries to gain the strength to go against all he has ever believed in to live the life he deserves.
Many have complained that this film is another example of liberal Hollywood pushing its agenda. Instead of looking at this as a human story. A story which many a person has lived. There are people who have been disowned by their families because they are gay. Tormented. Beaten. Ostracized. Forced into conversion therapy. Many will be really moved by the situation here because they have gone through it. Tough watch, but a necessary one.
It is that dose of reality which brings emotion to the film directed by Joel Edgerton (The Gift). Conversion therapy is twisted. The wrong way of thinking. Evil. The idea that you try to fix someone who is not broken. Being gay is not something you can take out of someone.
The interesting aspect of the film is the relationship between Jared and his parents. How he accepts to go initially because he loves them. How they think what they are doing is for the best. How their religious beliefs play into it. All three of the main actors – Hedges, Crowe and Kidman – do a great job bringing humanity to their characters. None of them are one dimensional with plenty of rough and conflicting edges.
Looking at the cruelty involved in conversion therapy Boy Erased forces us to acknowledge this happens and continues to happen. That this abusive practice needs to be outlawed everywhere.
-Becoming the Eamons
-Man Consumed: Joel Edgerton
-Deleted & Extended Scenes