Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) is the upstanding son of a Arkansas pastor (Russell Crowe) and his wife (Nicole Kidman). However Jared has fallen from grace. Cursed with the sin of homosexuality, his parents decide to enter him in to a gay conversion course with faith healer Victor Sykes (Joel Egerton).
…an accessible drama which aims to address a blame culture that dare not address itself.
Building on an already prodigious resumé of scripts and solid turns in the director’s chair, Joel Egerton’s latest has him peeling back the piety and shame of America’s bible belt. Based on a real life story, ‘Boy Erased’ is an accessible drama which aims to address a blame culture that dare not address itself.
With ‘Manchester By The Sea’s’ Lucas Hedges in the lead, his Jared is a believably-confused young man struggling to deal with his nascent sexuality within an intolerant environment. Caught in the spotlight of his father’s position and his own feelings towards god, the prom night template of teenage romance doesn’t fit him. Things come to a dramatic head later at college, when befriended by Henry (Joe Alwyn), Jared is violently forced to confront his sexuality and even more damaging, his father’s refusal to listen.
Instead (in a commendable performance by Russell Crowe) Marshall Eamonn proves himself to be a man of the community he serves. Pulling in church elders, they attempt to divine the truth of Jared’s situation as god would solve it. Within a culture where silence is closer to piety, or at least when sin strikes, it is deemed proof of the devil’s existence, Marshall’s fundamentalist servitude to his church trumps all other considerations, including his own family.
In a film that hints at a even higher of level of real-life claustrophobia and religious indoctrination, ‘Boy Erased’ decides to keep its tone firmly on the dramatic. From Nicole Kidman’s bottle-blonde wife sat alone in a nearby motel waiting her son to be cured, to the surprise casting of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Flea as a hard-line convertee, to Joel Egerton’s increasingly belligerent Victor Sykes, there are plenty of the performances here to admire.
So, whilst this film that might not pierce the armour-plated faith of Southern America, or reflect the true scale of atrocities being committed, ‘Boy Erased’ is a further embrace of a story that desperately needs to be told and a light that needs to be shone.
You will get angry – and that’s the point.