Review: Set in Arkansas, Boy Erased is a coming of age drama that chronicles eighteen-year old Jared’s upbringing in a Christian fundamentalist family. His blissful life ends abruptly when his father sends him to a pseudoscientific gay conversion program. Here, self-appointed guardians of religion with no actual qualifications attempt to ‘cure’ him of his homosexuality. He escapes eventually, but not before enduring and witnessing psychological and physical torture.
Lucas Hedges is perfect as an unsure teen, and you feel compelled to hate Joel Edgerton’s character who takes his brainwashing game seriously. Nicole Kidman as Jared’s mother effortlessly conveys the film’s message about accepting one’s children for who they are. This film hit a little closer to home for me than it intended to.
You see, in my country, con artists pretending to be ‘spiritual healers’ performing exorcisms and curing diseases with magical potions are par for the course. And corporal punishment is meted out to children for trivial mischief as if it’s a rite of passage. I think no matter where we are from, the movie makes us stop and think long and hard about a very important issue – ‘What Are We Doing to Our Children?’.
My rating is 3.5/5.
Who should watch this: Fans of intelligent coming of age dramas will love this film. And if you liked this movie, you definitely need to watch The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which deals with the same subject matter. Also check out Beach Rats and Moonlight.