A brave, true-life take on growing up gay: Review of Boy Erased
After an Arkansas teenager is revealed to be gay, his religious parents enlist him at a conversion therapy facility. His preacher father (Russell Crowe, in a rare understated performance) is convinced that the church-supported programme will ‘de-gay’ his only child (Lucas Hedges, consolidating his reputation as one of Hollywood’s finest young actors).
Meanwhile, his more supportive mother (Nicole Kidman, compelling) rebels against her son’s institutionalisation, all the while also striving to keep her family together.
Based on a memoir of the same name by Gerrard Conley and written-directed by and co-starring Joel Edgerton as the head therapist, Boy Erased is the auteur’s second feature following 2015’s acclaimed The Gift.
Without sensationalising the subject matter or demonising any of the characters, Edgerton elicits empathy for the young man who against daunting odds starts to come to terms with his sexual identity.
While the camerawork by Eduard Grau is elegant, the frequent use of slow motion and flashbacks tends to further impede an already glacial pace.
Even so, Boy Erased is recommended for those in the mood for a sensitive non-fiction drama.