Show & Tell: Boy Erased


Today’s announcement (or, at least its lateness) is a great illustration of the danger of waiting for one thing to happen before you do another thing.

Take tonight’s showing of Boy Erased, which will show at 7:00 in The Historic Theater. I wanted to wait until the Oscar nominations came out on Tuesday morning before I sent the invitation to the discussion. After all, a couple of Boy’s players had been mentioned in the pre-Oscar buzz, and if they had indeed been nominated, it would have been good to mention that.

But they weren’t, so I can’t.

Still, the movie has both of the quality of cast and production and a timely theme (gay conversion therapy) to warrant some attention from the major awards organizations.

Boy Erased is the story of Jared Eamons, the son of a Baptist minister, who is forced by his parents to enter a conversion therapy program. From the previews, it looks like the program is kind of a “boot camp” affair, with strict discipline, public humiliation, and verbal assault used to break down resistance.

The movie has made a splash, not because its content is unfamiliar; after all, this kind of “treatment” for gayness has been around for decades.

But with Lucas Hedges playing the boy in question, Nicole Kidman as his mother, Russell Crowe as his father and writer/director Joel Edgerton, there’s a ton of talent dedicated to making this story as powerful as possible.

Despite the chilliness of the night, I expect to have a very warm discussion of Boy Erased. I hope to see you there.

p.s. You should also let your iPhones know that there will be three discussions to brighten up the gloomy month of February, including two about movies with some Oscar heft behind them: Shoplifters (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film) on February 5, At Eternity’s Gate (Oscar nom for Willem Dafoe for Best Actor for playing Vincent Van Gogh) and Mary Queen of Scots (no Oscar nominations, but absolute catnip for fans of costume drama).

Paul Goodwin