I’m beginning to love Lucas Hedges. It’s inevitable that three years in a row, he has been appearing with memorable performances in one masterpiece after another. In 2016, he gave his best performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” and then in 2017 (last year), he had fresh supporting roles in “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
This year, he had a small role in “Mid90s,” and more recently, he takes the leading role in “Boy Erased.” While it isn’t as inspiring as I hoped it would be, it does have an important message about how Homosexuals and Lesbians are mistreated in certain communities-religious ones to be exact.
Writer/director Joel Edgerton based this movie on Garrard Conley’s memoirs, in which his parents sent him to conversion therapy as a child. In this movie, Hedges plays Jared Eamons, who is sent there, based on his gay thoughts by his preacher father (Russell Crowe). His mother (Nicole Kidman) drives him to his sessions every day, and it’s against the rules to talk about what goes on in class. He also learns he could be attending there longer than he thought, and it becomes Hell for him. Think of this as sort of “12 Years a Slave” with homosexuals and lesbians.
As far as I know, I’ve heard laughs, shocks, and gasps in the audience, all depending on what the characters say and do. I was in that crowd, as well.
Edgerton plays the head therapist, who abuses his students with dialogue and ritual book beatings. And even his administrator (Flea) calls Jared a “faggot” in the bathroom. And yet still, Jared recalls some gay stories and dreams he has thought of. One of the stories, involves a college roommate of his (Joe Alwyn) raping him in the dark, and admitting he raped a kid in the same parish they attended. Eventually, that’s how his parents find out about his sexuality.
“Boy Erased” is lackadaisical in its spirit of fighting for beliefs in one’s sexuality. I didn’t feel it had a certain vibe that would make it a masterpiece at the level of “Moonlight.” But still, I liked it for what it was. It admits there are people and places that forces people to think a certain way and live a certain life. People have the right to be gay or straight, whatever their hearts tell them, and I support that.
The casting is fine. Hedges keeps his emotions at ease, especially when he yells at his father for leading him on his own path. Kidman is immaculate as the mother, who feels obligated to live by her husband’s rules and faith. Edgerton does a flexible job in front and behind the camera as the therapist. Flea has an impressive mini-Michael Fassbender-type roll (still referring to “12 Years a Slave”), mainly with the bathroom scene I’ve mentioned. You also have Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, and Britton Sear as some of the homosexuals in the same program. And out of those boys, Sear gets the most abused, and we feel horrible for him.
The dark and gloomy tone of the movie represents the feelings and threats that the average homosexual worries about. Sometimes it can sleepy, other times, it can be emotional, and I’m flexible either way. Again, “Boy Erased” is no masterpiece, but it does open our eyes to what else is going on in the world today. Not even Harvey Milk’s words of wisdom could tame it, but not all of us are made of stone.
Show some respect, people.