Boy Erased (2018) - USA / Australia
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
What impressed me the most in “Boy Erased” is the fact that Director Joel Edgerton manages to banishes the cruelty of “conversion therapy” and whilst also providing an extremely human story about coming to terms of ones’s sexuality. The film poses tough questions on following faith blindly and the controversy around “conversion therapy” on the LGBT community and society in general. We get outstanding performances by Nicole Kidman and an out of shape Russell Crowe, whose conservative nature is ultimately blinded by faith and leading to due circumstances for their gay son (played by one of best actors of his generation - Lucas Hedges).
Lucas Hedges is simply amazing as the kid growing up into realisation of his own sexuality. What makes Hedges’s performance so special is the manner in which he experience the role through different stages of life, adolescences failed attempt at heterosexual relationship, sexual assault experience at college campus and ultimately sharing a bed with another man. It’s a gradual growth that build up to the confrontation with his parents. Russell Crowe is spot on as the pastor and Ford dealership owner and conservative father whose decision to send Hedges to “conversion therapy” remains a thorn in their relationship. Nicole Kidman highlights how blind one can be when simply following faith and this juxtapose with the love of mother to son that eventually led to the opening of her eyes. Joel Edgerton is simply brilliant as the under-qualified therapist whose attempt to cure sexuality turns to abuse and darkening effect.
“Boy Erased” works extremely well in its depiction of life, choices and sexuality. It shows how difficult it is for both the LGBT community and the those who hold strong and values of blind faith. Many controversial topics are touched upon and given a detailed spotlight. Director Joel Edgerton is not shy from exposing the realities faced by the characters and their past. At the end, we get a film that resonance to most, especially with all the movements going on in the world right now.
I rated it 8/10
StarsLucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, Madelyn Cline