Upon seeing both Ladybird and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, I was worried that Lucas Hedges had begun to have been typecast in the role of insecure-gay-adolescent. However, despite the similarity of some of the types of characters he plays, Hedges presents a wholly new personality with his portrayal of Jared in Boy Erased.
Subverting expectations of gay men as feminine, Jared is an all-american masculine presenting young adult. He plays football and videogames, and lives with a family that do their best to love him. But when a situation occurs, Jared is sent to Love in Action conversion therapy by his parents.
Here we follow the lives of many characters, each giving us a fresh perspective on their life at the treatment centre. Some are devotedly trying to change their sexuality, some are merely acting, and some, like Jared, are unsure of how to behave at all. One of these characters, Gary, is portrayed by youtuber-turned-musician Troye Sivan. I was skeptical to see Sivan on the big screen for the first time, however, I was very pleasantly surprised at his raw performance of a character trying to numb his emotions to fit into his newfound society. On a side note, however, I doubt that the true Love in Action would let a homosexual client keep their bleach-blond hair upon entrance to the facility.
It brings light to real problems people face in the world, and leaves you questioning your own morality.
I fully enjoyed the presentation of masculinity and its toxicity within the film. This was furthered by Nicole Kidman’s stellar performance as Jared’s mother, and her inner conflict towards bowing down to her husband (Russell Crowe) and protecting her son.
The film also has a strong soundtrack. We are blasted with intensity from the very opening, gripping the audience, and Troye Sivan’s song Revelations emcompasses the entire bittersweet tone of the film.
My only negative behind this film is it’s sometimes cliché dialogue, which can remove you slightly from the experience, but it doesn’t distract too much from the serious tone this film has.
Overall, I highly recommend giving Boy Erased a watch. It brings light to real problems people face in the world, and leaves you questioning your own morality.