Boy Erased

Boy Erased Movie Review 2018: Rubbing Out Homosexuality

Movie Name
Boy Erased
Joel Edgerton
Biography , Drama
01 hours 55 minutes

Boy Erased Review

When an intensely religious man, a small-town pastor, firmly believes that homosexuality is sin in the eyes of God, he sends his gay son Jared for conversion therapy.

It is a disturbingly strict centre where gay boys and girls have to deposit their cell phones and have no communication with the outside world until 5 pm when their families fetch them. They are also forbidden from discussing what happens at the course with their parents.

It becomes more and more sinister when counsellor Victor Sykes makes them go up turn by turn to read out their experiences and browbeats each one into accepting that he has sinned. A young gay who terms it a problem is corrected and told again and again, call it a sin, not a problem. The parents of young Cameron who holds out, come in and participate in the dark cultish practice where the demon has to be humiliatingly beaten out of him in front of everybody.

And God is omnipresent, like he's a participant in the heartbreaking therapy.

It's alarming to what lengths the counsellor and a couple of parents will go to, to break a gay son if need be but not let him be.

A horrified Jared is told by another to, ‘Fake it till you make it'. They know their sexual preference isn't going to be any different but go along, pretend you're changing and get out.

Fortunately for Jared, his mother who has all along been a pliant partner puts her foot down and confronts her husband.

What's needed is not conversion therapy for the son but acceptance counselling for the parents. A reality that's lost in the mire of God, religion, society and ‘I won't have a grandchild ever'.

Jared breaks out and later writes a piece called ‘If God only knew: the morals & ethics of conversion therapy'.It takes a while for his pastor-father to even read what he's written.

What's really frightening is that this is not just a true account but that conversion therapy continues to exist in conservative America. Parents and religion are still dehumanising and breaking gay boys and girls. The statistics at the end reads like scary ‘sadistics'.

Edgy writer-director Joel Edgerton who casts himself as horrible Sykes, the self-styled counsellor, keeps the narrative grim. But it gets awfully boring at the centre perhaps because the starkness is so predictable and Edgerton has a monotone that induces slumber after a while.

The presence of an overweight Russell Crowe as the over-religious father is assuring. But it's Nicole Kidman as the mother who has one fine moment where she discovers her own moral strength.

Lucas Hedges as Jared is compelling as he negotiates ups and downs with ease.


  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

For a story that’s very important to tell but requires patience to watch, Boy Erased gets a 2.5* rating.


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