Boy Erased is a 2018 American biographical drama film based on Gerard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name. It was directed by Joel Edgerton. It stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Joel Edgerton and follows the story of a son of Baptist parents who is forced into a gay conversion therapy program.
Jared Eamons (Hedges) is the son Marshall Eamons (Crowe), a car dealer and Baptist preacher in Arkansas, and Nancy Eamons (Kidman), a hairdresser. He starts his first day at Love in Action gay conversion therapy assessment program. He meets the chief therapist Victor Sykes (Edgerton), who tells Jared’s group, that their sexuality is a choice influenced by poor parenting. He instructs them to perform hard “moral inventories” of themselves and their families and requires that they not tell anyone else about what goes on during those sessions.
Many of the kids in the program receive abusive “therapies,” some involving family members, such as pouring cold water on them, making them become angry on purpose, or hitting them with a cross or a Bible. No person, homosexual or not, should have to go through this. If you really think God hates someone because of their sexual preference, then there is something seriously wrong with you. Just because it’s written in a book that it is wrong or right, that doesn’t make it so. It is still a book.
You learn in this film that many Bible thumpers take homosexuality as a sin and that many will do anything to rid that from a loved one, causing more harm than good. Does gay conversion therapy really work? Nine times out of ten, it does not. There is no scientific evidence to back up the success. People that go through the therapy, either remain the same, pretend to be heterosexual and pretend that they actually learned things from the program, or come out confused. There is no cure for homo or bisexuality. Far too many people think sexuality is a choice.
This film shows the cruelty that goes on during a gay conversion therapy program and how it actually does more harm than good. It also shows how religion, especially Christianity, plays a role in “marriage is to be between a man and a woman.” The program tries to teach the kids that homosexuality, homosexual thoughts and masturbation is wrong. They use harsh forms of therapy to brainwash them.
Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Joel Edgerton are an outstanding ensemble in this film. This film was truly inspirational, moving and disturbing. Coming from a family like the Eamons, I could sympathize with Jared. Families should accept each other for who they are.
This film does have some moments, but it does pick up. This is a deeply disturbing, yet powerful movie, that anyone who has been outcasted religiously by family for their sexuality needs to watch. A true gem of a motion picture that most conservative Christians may hate, but need to watch, because it is eye opening. No one deserves to be treated badly because they don’t follow a certain code. Great, emotional, wonderful film. 18+ 4.5/5