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Boy Erased

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On one hand it‘s hard to believe, on the other, it isn‘t surprising: in extremely religious states in the US it is still customary to put teens who show signs of homosexuality in conversion camps to heal them from their “disease.“ Gerard Conley, whose autobiography was adapted by actor and director Joel Edgerton, was also meant to share this fate.

In the film Gerard is called Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) and is raised in a caring home. His father Marshall (Russell Crowe) is a car salesman and a preacher in the local baptist community, his mother Nancy (Nicole Kidman) is loving, but not ready to contradict his father‘s entrenched view at first. After Jared talks about an incident in college, Marshall only sees one way to protect his son from his homosexuality and a direct path to hell: the “Love in Action“ therapy program led by Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton) that is much like a closed ward. Jared meets an array of characters there who deal with their situation in different ways. Edgerton is very cautious about the potential for human drama in his second directorial output, which is both a strength and a weakness. BOY ERASED shows Jared‘s emancipation in a fairly undramatic way which ultimately goes quite smoothly. Then again this reserved approach is free from speculation and hysteria and takes this completely absurd form of “therapy“ under the magnifying glass, a practice that is hard to believe still exists.

Michael Meyns (INDIEKINO BERLIN)

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

USA 2018, 114 min
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Joel Edgerton
Author: Garrard Conley, Joel Edgerton
DOP: Eduard Grau
Music: Saunder Jurriaans, Danny Bensi
Distributor: Universal Pictures Germany
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, Xavier Dolan
FSK: 12
Release: 21.02.2019

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