November 21, 2018

Boy Erased Review

The Miseducation of Cameron Post may be the more striking 2018 feature about the evils of gay conversion therapy, but Boy Erased should not be ignored. Based on the memoir by Garrard Conley, Boy Erased banishes Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist minister (Russell Crowe, who is starting to resemble your doughy uncle) struggling with his sexual feelings for men, to a program run by Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton, whose Southern accent is far from subtle or accurate).

The third-act tragedy is far from unexpected, but nothing about this well-made film is surprising. Hedges, an Academy Award nominee for Manchester by the Sea, delivers another top-notch performance, and Crowe nails the cadence of a Southern preacher whose faith and family are in conflict. Though only the second film directed by Edgerton, he shows the empathetic restraint of a seasoned filmmaker in avoiding the more melodramatic, judgmental traps that can damage the message of such tough material. The film is not a takedown of religion, faith, the South, etc., but it ensures no one will leave thinking gay conversion therapy to be anything but abuse.