Boy Erased Review
Throughout Boy Erased, we see Jared's mother warning him not to stretch his hands out of car's window as a passing truck or vehicle might hit him. While Jared argues with her that would never happen. Still, everytime.. obeying or in order to convince her, he pulls his hand in. By the time the film ends, we see Jared doing it again. Without any hesitation. The shot is sort of his liberation. His act of freedom! This whole thing, in a way, is a metaphor that the film is all about.
Jared Eamons is sent to a gay conversion therapy center when he confesses to his parents (a father who is a Baptist pastor as well) that he is homosexual. The film travels along with him in back and forth.. the people he met.. meet.. his wanderings in coming to terms with his sexuality.. And majorly about the brutal psychological tortures himself and everyone along with him undergoes in the camp.
The sequences in the conversion center are very well written. Without being upfront.. it gives you the striking mental pressure it imposes on the people. We get to see Xavier Dolan and Troye Sivan playing other fellow men in the camp. The gentle, feminine vulnerability of the faces work so much for the scenes where they are demanded to look and behave masculine. The motto of the camp is repeatedly mentioned as 'Fake it till you make it!'.
The many little things that's not said aloud stands apart. Like Xavier Dolan's character never shakes hand in the test for masculinity where they judge the students by how man enough their hand shake is! He just salutes them! On the other hand, there is an obvious 'beat with Bible' shots to chase out the inner demon they believe the gayness is.
In the beginning days of the camp, he sees this girl who is often alone.. refuses to open up or avoid Jared when he tries to console her. He never gets the reason behind. But.. As time passes on.. Jared turns to be the same way like she is. He is constantly pressurized and choose to be rigid and rugged and says 'Nothing' when anyone tries to check up with him. That's what the camp does to them. It erases the people they are in order to make who they want them to be!
One feels genuinely relieved and happy for Jared when he voices out at the end. The gut he finally chose to exhibit hits you. The escape run is adrenaline rushing.
Can you believe that the sex scene between Jared and a guy he had crush for in his college is chopped in the Indian version of the film? In a film like this.. that talks about gay conversion therapy centers.. our censor boards do act like one when they miss out the whole point of a film like this. None of the tortures in camp are cut but a homosexual act is removed. Like what?
I honestly would have settled with an ending when his mother accepts him and decides to fight his father from here on. But the film, from there, goes on for 20+ minutes. Him breaking a conversation with his father.. Father choking up with emotions.. And all that!
I loved the gift that his father gave him. Its a pen with a mark of cross in it. It's just one shot but it says so much about how conversative the man he is no matter how hard he tries to be good to his son. All we can look forward with is.. Hope! Hope, that they would get over their children being queer! For him and millions of people like him!
Joel Edgerton's biographical drama 'Boy Erased, based on the memoir written by Garrard Conley is quietly revolutionary! It addresses and breaks chunks of religious ignorances that hits on innocent queer people by trying to erase their identity.