McCann At The Movies: ‘Boy Erased’ Is A Compelling Drama With A Strong Message

Posted by


John McCann says ‘Boy Erased’  is a a powerful and important piece of cinema with a strong message that resonates long after the final credits roll…

After  his successful directorial debut, with the 2015 feature ‘The Gift’, Joel Edgerton takes his place once again behind the camera for the powerful and emotionally charged drama ‘Boy Erased’, currently on show at Tralee Omniplex.

Based on Gerard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, ‘Boy Erased’ tells the story of Jared (played by Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (played by Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at age 19.

Continued below…


Rather than being shunned by family and friends, Jared attends a conversion therapy programme. While there, Jared comes into conflict with its devout leader and begins his fateful journey to finding his own voice and accepting his true self.

If the plot of ‘Boy Erased’ may seem a bit familiar, it’s because its subject matter and core themes were seen in last year’s ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’, a film directed by  Desiree Akhavan and starred Chloë Grace Moretz, which may not have had the same commercial exposure as this feature, but did win the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at last year’s Sundance Festival.

Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe in ‘Boy Erased’.

Both films cover in depth the shocking reality and practice of a gay conversion therapy centres which, incredibly, still operate today.

‘Boy Erased’ highlights the obvious shortcoming of these establishments in a strong and clear manner, yet thanks to the extraordinary performances of Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as Jared’s well meaning but deluded  parents who are unable to support their son when he needs them most, this is a skillfully made film layered with subtlety and sensitivity.

Along with the increasingly brilliant Lucas Hedges (who follows up last year’s stellar performances in ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Manchester by the Sea’ with an equally powerful turn here) both Kidman and Crowe steer this harrowing drama from cliche at every opportunity and add a layer of complexity and empathy to their characters, despite their quite obvious shortcomings.

Edgerton himself, excels in his role as charismatic yet frightful leader Victor Sykes, and his battle of wills with Jared is at the centre of this excellent film.

Viewers should be warned, that this harrowing yet powerful drama, is at times an uncomfortable and heartbreaking watch.

It is however, a powerful and important piece of cinema that contains a strong and vital message delivered emphatically thanks to a strong cast and a talented director.


• For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

Comments are closed.