Conversion therapy is something many may not think too much of, or even fully understand what it is. Those who do probably believe it to be an old fashioned way of thinking about someone being gay. The film “Boy Erased” tackles a brutal and gripping true story of a young man who must endure the mental torture of conversion therapy put upon him by his Christian parents.
The film from the get go was slow moving and at times maybe even a little boring, but that seemed to be the point. This was about someone’s real life and was meant to inform the audience about what people were, and still are, having to go through. It wasn’t an action film that kept you on the edge of your seat, but it really evoked thoughts about each line.
When the main character Jarod (Lucas Hedges), comes out to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe), as gay their immediate reaction is to turn to the church for a solution, conversion therapy seems like the only way to go. Sending him to a trial program run by Victor Skyes (Joel Edgerton- Writer/Director), called Love In Sight.
The story is told in such a way that has a series of flashbacks telling Jarod’s story, not allowing for the audience to get a great understanding of just who Jarod is. This left for some disconnect between character and audience, but as the film begins to stay in present day his character development shines through leaving the viewer feeling the same heartache that Jarod was enduring.
Through Jarod’s time at Love in Sight the viewer is introduced to many other struggling young adults enduring the same pain, some worse than others. As some are beaten by their families, others pretend to be moving on just to find a way out and some pray that they can change the person they are. A part of each person is being erased through conversion therapy and some even meet tragic ends.
This film is a gripping, heart wrenching and anxiety ridden story carried by moving performances that will leave you sitting in your seat wondering just how something so brutal as teaching people that the way they love is a sin. The church in the film also labels mental health as a sin to God. The film is not against the church or faith, it is trying to find a balance between your faith and your sexuality. This is something we see many of these characters face in the film.
Today it is currently legal to practice conversion therapy in 36 states in the US. It’s not something that is old fashioned or out of date. It is still happening every single day. The film Boy Erased, now nominated for two Golden Globes, is a step in showing what most people in the LGTBQ+ community go through at these practices and hopefully will be a catalyst in helping protect not only the young LGBTQ+ members but all. Love is love!