Emily Aiken ’20, Editor-in-Chief
The difficult and oftentimes isolating process of accepting one’s sexuality can be a hard one to explain to those who have not dealt with it themselves or with others. This experience comes to life in the movie, Boy Erased, which came out in theaters on Nov. 2.
The emotional film is based on Garrard Conley’s memoir (although the names of the characters are changed) and is about Jared Eamonds (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist preacher, who is forcibly outed to his parents. His father (Russell Crowe) and his mother (Nicole Kidman) are insistent that he participates in a gay conversion camp at a church.
The movie begins in the middle of the plot with Jared beginning his first day at the camp. The main therapist, Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton), is a prominent character throughout. He tells the group that their sexuality is a choice and a sin, and it is clear he has some sexuality issue of his own—he was once in a conversion camp himself—but tries to hide them through his harsh persona. All of the scenes in the church add a lot of texture to the film. They are filmed in shades of blue that make the whole process truthfully seem grim, which goes along with the idea that conversion therapy is a frightening, unaccepting place for Jared.
The other characters in the program are depicted well by the actors. They show the truth of the programs in that everyone deals with them differently—some trying to work things out and fall in line and others are resistant. Eamond’s role was an emotional one, for her journey involves accepting her son’s sexuality. She apologizes and comes to the conclusion that she should not have gone along with the conversion therapy, especially when she know it was not the right thing to do. This brings forth a statement of feminism due to realization of her subjugation in a male dominated community.. Jared’s relationship with his father is a bit more complex. As a pastor, he simply refuses to accept the fact that his son is gay, and this process takes a lot of time throughout the movie.
Boy Erased is a powerful journey of accepting one’s sexuality, and, even more important, it depicts that acceptance is still an issue within the LGBTQ community, although there has been progress.
Photo courtesy of Variety