I find it difficult to be objective while reviewing this film, because the truth is that Boy Erased shook me to the core. If I’m honest, the first tear that went down my face fell before the movie even started. A few notes from the opening song were enough for me. Moreover, the response that each of us has towards a work of art depends as much on our perception of it as on its intrinsic value. We are the ones who apply levels of content and meaning that elevate it and make its central theme resonate within us. But this is neither time nor place to reflect on author theory, so let’s get down to business.
Boy Erased is based on an autobiographical book in which Garrard Conley recounts his experience as a teenager in a reformation camp for homosexuals. The protagonist, a good as always Lucas Hedges, is the son of a Baptist pastor of Arkansas, Russell Crowe, and a hairdresser, a Nicole Kidman with fake nails, lace blouses and oxygenated perm. Following an accident at school the parents learn about their son’s homosexuality and react by sending him to a therapy camp that claims to be able to treat this “tendency caused by the temptations of the devil”. From here on we see the disturbing practices put into action by the camp director Victor Sykes, played by Joel Edgerton who also wrote the script and directed the movie.
Needless to say, the cast does a miraculous job with powerful and perfect performances. The music is also remarkable, thanks to Troye Sivan, who, in addition to acting, lends a couple of his songs and signs the inedit song of the film. What also adds further weight to the script is the awareness that this is not a fictional invention, but a true story and a disturbing reality that still exists. In America in fact, in many states, these “rehabilitation” centers still operate and do damage every day, in what is a kind of legalized torture. Therefore I strongly to recommend this film, both for its being a good product and for its social value.