MOVIE BOY ERASED

STAR­RING: Lu­cas Hedges, Ni­cole Kid­man

WHO - - The List -

The term “gay con­ver­sion ther­apy” evokes thoughts of ar­chaic rites dat­ing back to a less en­light­ened era such as the 1950s. But, sadly, the prac­tice con­tin­ues to­day. Based on the mem­oir by Gar­rard Con­ley, the emo­tive Boy Erased stars Hedges as Jared, the son of de­vout Chris­tian min­is­ter Mar­shall (Rus­sell Crowe) and his sup­port­ive wife Nancy (Kid­man). They can’t com­pre­hend why their son is at­tracted to men, as they be­lieve it is a choice.

Lov­ing child that he is, Jared de­spises his own feel­ings and is pre­pared to do what­ever it takes to re­gain his par­ents’ ap­proval. At the Love in Ac­tion cen­tre, “what­ever it takes” in­cludes pseudo- psy­chol­ogy about how to be a man and home­work ev­ery night, even though Jared is per­turbed by the spell­ing mis­takes in the man­ual. But when the con­ver­sion meth­ods turn bru­tal and the “ex­perts”, led by Vic­tor (writer-di­rec­tor Joel Edger­ton), try to con­vince him his sex­ual lean­ings are down to a ha­tred of his fa­ther, that’s a bridge too far for Jared to cross.

Hedges, play­ing against ti­tans Crowe and Kid­man in their first film to­gether, is mes­meris­ing as the re­served, in­tel­li­gent and com­pas­sion­ate pro­tag­o­nist. There are no vil­lains in this fam­ily, just des­per­ate love. And that’s what makes Boy Erased so won­der­ful. (Out now)

“It’s a story about shame,” Hedges (with Kid­man in the Aacta-nom­i­nated film) told Vul­ture.

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