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TIFF 2018 Review: “Boy Erased” (2018) ★★★★★


How is it even possible that religion be used to cure queerness? How can we tell someone that God loves you for being straight but if you’re gay he despises you? Did that preacher or pastor get the message from God himself? All these gay conversion therapies are just to grab money from rich people who want to prevent their “confused” children from being who they want to be. But instead they lose money and more importantly the sanity of their children, since by the time when they will be released from that therapy, they either will be dead or damaged for the rest of their lives.

What we see in “Boy Erased” is absolutely important. Indeed, what we have seen in “Miseducation of Cameron Post” was as crucial as Edgerton’s movie, however, this particular piece tackles a bit more, such as the relationship of parents with their gay child, the religion aspect and finding the right time to stop what’s never meant to work. Adapted from Garrard Conley`s memoir Boy Erased, the movie touches upon the most important idea of all – to not give up and stand tall when someone tries to suppress your personality. And that’s why you always need to have a marker ready in your hand anytime someone tries to erase the most important chapter of your life.

Frankly saying, a very attentive viewer can easily tell the anger, frustration, and the complete loss director Joel Edgerton must’ve experienced as it was felt throughout the film. He not only tried to make a point, and a very strong one, but through the counsel, Victor, that he himself portrayed, Edgerton captures the greedy nature of man who knows well that his lecture about God won’t provide any solace to the family, their children and will provide zero benefits from having their children attend the sessions that are meant to brainwash people.

Marshall Eamons, Garrard’s father portrayed by Russell Crowe, is a man who is deeply religious and does not understand how one man can love another. He dreams that he one day may become a grandfather, but knowing the orientation of his son, Marshall knows his biggest dream may never get fulfilled. Nancy, Garrard’s mother, portrayed by the always versatile Nicole Kidman, is a whole different story. She is extremely supportive and does not talk much, but when she does, we all better listen to her without missing any single word.

Lucas Hedges as Garrard Conley is a young teenager who confronts his identity. The way he tries to fix himself for the sake of his family is terrific. Certain scenes, for instance the one at the bus stop where he saw the picture of a male model in the bus booth, his mere reaction there was heartbreaking itself. But perhaps the most definite one for him as well was when he knew for a fact that nothing’s going to help him to become the normal version of normality which for him is as weird as it could get.

In conclusion, “Boy Erased” is a deeply moving family drama where sexuality, confrontation of fears, religion, ideology and what is right and wrong will form one big circle. That’s where one single moment can help break through the madness created by people who demand everyone else to be like them. All the conversion therapies will drive anyone nuts. It’s utterly unbelievable how people get confused in this life or when they concentrate their attention on unnecessary topics such as someone’s sexuality when the world should be giving attention to more important problems than this. As it’s filled with absolutely remarkable performances from the entire cast, the film manages to reach its aim to deliver one singular message – “Enough is enough.” But the problem is, will that message reach the right people?

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