While more films discuss the struggles of exploring ones sexuality and coming out as gay during a time when that was not acceptable, this does not diminish the importance of “Boy Erased.” The film does take the time to delve into Jared Eamons’ (Lucas Hedges) transition from confused boy to homosexual man, but the main focus is on the brutal and unforgiving world that surrounds Jared, especially the Baptist society he grew up in that sees homosexuality as a disease that can be purged through relentless and unforgiving bible worship, to the point that it could be seen as torture.
The film is unflinching and unsympathetic in its portrayal of this abuse, while also showcasing the ignorance of Jared’s preacher father (Russell Crowe). Yet it maintains its moral center through Nicole Kidman’s performance as Jared’s mother, conflicted by both sides but unable to act out without destroying someone’s life. While the film can be hard to watch at times, Kidman makes the journey well worth it.
Overall, the timing for “Boy Erased” could not be more perfect. At a time when cinema is embracing the things that make us different and honoring those imperfections like a work of art, this film speaks to those who still see those same differences as a curse or weakness that must be corrected. It shows that we’ve entered a new world of movies and that old world of trying to change people to be something they’re not will no longer be tolerated. It’s a strong, powerful message that deserves to be seen.
Final Grade: B-