‘Boy Erased’ is one of those movies that you know, even before going in, will break your heart. And it will. Joel Edgerton directed this film based on the memoir of Gerald Conley, which is based on his experience enrolled in gay conversion therapy sessions. The film chooses all the right buttons to provoke your feelings, rip your heart apart. And it helps that the cast is all good, from Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as the parents to Lucas Hedges as Jared, the boy whose sexual orientation is being erased. I went along for the ride, expecting what I will get, and got it.
But I wanted something more. I wish the characters were better developed. Even Jared’s character, the center of the piece, felt a little hollow, his sexual awakening unconvincing. Hedges tries to fill in the gaps and ultimately we understand, but still I wanted a little more texture. Kidman and Crowe serve as opposite sides of the point, and only in Kidman’s performance do we see some three-dimension in her role. And the film is a little too white-bred, for sure.
There are similarites to a movie earlier this year that dealt with the same topic – ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ – and I liked this one slightly better. Still, the film wasn’t an enjoyable experience. It still hits close – in a similar world, the same experience could have happened to me. Still, I think people who will see the film will like it a lot, and obviously the message needs to go out to people who needs it most.