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#TIFF18 Review: Boy Erased

September 14, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, Boy Erased focuses on Jared (Lucas Hedges), a young man who gets outed at college, and is sent by his Baptist preacher father (Russell Crowe) to a gay conversion camp run by the “ex-gay” councillor Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton). Although his well-meaning but misguided mother (Nicole Kidman) initially goes along with it, she starts to realize that maybe her son doesn’t need to be “cured.”

Directed by Joel Edgerton, making his second feature following his twisty stalker thriller The Gift, Boy Erased is built around another moving performance from Lucas Hedges. With his deeply sensitive eyes, the exceptionally expressive young actor becomes a powerful conduit for the audience, taking us on this emotional journey right alongside his character. Nicole Kidman does strong supporting work, offering a touching portrayal of a mother learning to accept that the unconditional love she will always have for her son includes accepting him for who he is.

Even if the film itself never quite adds up to the sum of its parts, there are still a lot of very powerful scenes here, and Boy Erased is a moving, well acted and very topical story that can do a lot of good just by being out in the world. Edgerton has said that he wanted to make the film to help end conversion therapy once and for all, and that’s a very noble goal indeed.

Théodore Pellerin and Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased

Public Screenings:

Tuesday, September 11th – 9:00 PM at Princess of Wales Theatre

Wednesday, September 12th – 2:30 PM at Princess of Wales Theatre

Saturday, September 15th – 12:00 PM at Roy Thomson Hall

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.

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