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Boy Erased

The truth cannot be converted

Tackling the topic of so-called conversion therapy – in which queer youth are essentially shipped off to re-education camps in order to ‘pray the gay away’ – is a complicated proposition for a filmmaker. It would be so easy to simply slip into a spiral of righteous anger at the abhorrent practice, which might deliver on-screen fire and fury, but little in the way of nuance or dramatic tension.

Poster for the gay-conversion drama Boy ErasedSomehow, writer-director Joel Edgerton leaps over this hurdle with Boy Erased, an intimate tale that still infuriates, but never overwhelms. Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of growing up as the gay son of a middle-America Baptist pastor, Boy Erased resonates exactly because it treats everyone as a human being, complex and impossible to reduce to binaries.

Edgerton, who also plays the tightly wound chief of the conversion-therapy organization here, wrings devastating performances from his cast, including Lucas Hedges as Garrard, and Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his parents.

– Barry Hertz, The Globe And Mail

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