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Boy Erased (2018)

Silver Raven
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A lot of Oscar winners and nominees in this, but the acting wasn't anything to write home about, just serviceable.  Lucas Hedges was in every scene, and he carried the movie, and stood out the best.  Nicole Kidman had one scene that she shone in.  The advertising gave more of a role to Troye Sivan than he really did.

Joel Edgerton as the director, writer, and co-star in it was very good, as well.  He didn't come across as particularly smarmy, as would be expected in a typical movie like this, and there were no real bad guys.

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I honestly thought it was going to be more brutal than it was. I took a class in '09 where somewhere talked about their conversion therapy, and they got electroshock therapy. He had a shit on of index cards with them and I inferred that his memory had been affected by the treatment.

I dunno, this felt kind of sugarcoated. Cameron did commit suicide and bad things were hinted at, but for an R-rated movie I expected something searing. I guess they didn't want Victor Sykes and his ilk to look too bad if they included the aversion therapy?

It was very good and I'm sure it'll get some awards notice, but honestly I've seen this done better. The scenes in Latter Days were way more intense.

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I think the movie was truthful to the reality of the particular program the author, Garrard Conley, was in. These conversion programs were/are all equally futile, wrong, and exploitative, but there were surely worse ones than Love in Action in terms of specific methods and practices. Conley had to write what he knew firsthand for memoir purposes, and it was bad enough. He was luckier than some even in LIA, in that his parents, though misguided and badly informed, really did love him. 

I also think the movie's tone was true to him. In every interview I've seen, he impresses as a generous, rather mild and even-tempered person, someone who wants to educate without grabbing his audience by the lapels and shouting. The film's empathy toward its characters, even some of the "bad" ones, was one strength. Another strength was the way we get just enough of others in the program (only as much as "Jared" would see of them) to imagine their own movies going on offscreen. Xavier Dolan was especially good as the kid who keeps appearing with different facial injuries. He has been through the program once already and seems so desperate for it to "work" this time. We can easily fill in the blanks.  

I thought the major actors were really good (films directed by other actors usually are well acted). Hedges has a memorable moment when Crowe asks "In your heart, do you want to change?" He's so easy to read there. He's skeptical even at that point. But these are the adults who are supposed to know better, and he wants to stop being worried, wants his parents to stop being worried, and wants things to go back to how they were before, when they were so proud of him. 

The movie falls short of greatness, but it's very good. I'd be willing to see it a second time.  

Edited by Simon Boccanegra
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I really appreciated the movie. It is so sad. The family stuff were very well done, the centre stuff was a little erratic. Excellent acting throughout. I can't remember the last time Crowe was so sympathetic, even though his character is so problematic. 

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