<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Joel Edgerton. Starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, Flea, Troye Sivan, Joe Alwyn, Xavier Dolan

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes


We’ve all heard of ‘gay conversion therapy’ and now in Boy Erased we can see how these evil ‘pray-the-gay-away’ camps in America operated and the impact they have had on young people who just want to be who they are.

We’re born this way. That’s the premise of Boy Erased. When young Jared Conlon  (Lucas Hedges) realises that he’s gay, he’s pretty okay with it. Unlike some of the other closeted gay guys around him, he’s mostly fine with himself. That is until his parents Marshall (Russell Crowe) and Nancy (Nicole Kidman) find out about it. Conservative parents that they are – Marshall is Baptist preacher – they don’t ostracise Jared, but rather tell him he can be ‘cured’ if he wants to change. Under pressure, he lets them enrol him into a Christian gay conversion programme run by Victor Sykes (played by director/actor Joel Edgerton).


You get the sense that Jared is going along with all this to make his parents happy more than it is to change. He knows he can’t and that the other ‘inmates’ at the conversion camp can’t either. Some try to fool themselves, others pretend to go along with the sometimes humiliating exercises. You get a chance to see inside these psychotic ‘asylums’ in a time when being gay was considered a sin, a disease or a choice that could be changed. Through Jared and his friends’ struggles you see the torture so many young people forced into this must have had to endure, scarring them and leading some to suicide.

The anguish and conflict that Jared’s parents must endure is also beautifully portrayed. They aren’t mindless, heartless people; they care about their son deeply and genuinely believe he needs to be helped. Eventually they must decide whether this is worth losing their son over.


Kidman and Crowe are perfect together and complement each other’s personalities well. Lucas Hedges makes a subtle, nuanced performance come alive in a heart warming, hugely touching way. You can’t help but tear up by the end. It’s also good to note that the film is based on a true story (the memoire by Garrard Conley) and so at the end of the film you find out what happens to all the real life characters.

Boy Erased is a touching, relevant and wonderful film about being yourself and fighting for just leaving things the way nature, and yes God, had intended.


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