Boy Erased Delivers a Heartfelt Tale of Struggle And Hope
Words by Wilson Huang
If there were any film that would confront you yet at the same time inspire you, this would be the one. Throughout the film, Boy Erased shows empathy towards its characters while acknowledging the harm they cause.
Gay conversion therapy is still widespread in the United States and Australia. A recent report by the Human Rights Law Centre (Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy in Australia) showed that conversion therapy practices are still causing harm to LGBT people in Australia.
While it can be easy to condemn people who engage in conversion therapy and for the right reasons, Boy Erased shows us that people can learn from their mistakes. Nicole Kidman’s character, Nancy – mother of her gay son, Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), evolves into a courageous woman who only wants the best for her son, amidst claps in the audience.
Boy Erased does not shy away from religiosity and stereotypes. Both were confronting to me while watching the film. Yet, the film deals with both spectacularly, delivering an accurate portrayal of them even if they can be bullshit. In one of the standout scenes, Hedges bravely delivers a son who boldly defends himself and his family. The only thing I would have liked more would be the specific inclusion of progressive religious groups, though understandably the film is based on a memoir.
Ultimately, Boy Erased is not only bold in its portrayal but empathic and inspiring. It avoids demonising its characters, but still illustrates the harms they are causing. Yet, while changing people’s minds can be tough (as much as I have tried as well), Boy Erased wants us to keep trying even when it is difficult. So, I encourage the many people I know from conservative religious backgrounds to see this film. It is indeed vital to engage and educate people on this matter – especially when people’s lives are at stake.
Boy Erased will be released in cinemas on 8 November.