Boy Erased

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

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The title – “Boy Erased” – is a foreshadowing of the film’s plot.

Based on a memoir by Garrard Conley, it tells the story of a boy undergoing conversion therapy for his sexual orientation. I’d guess his parents never heard Lady Gaga sing “Born That Way.”

In this telling, Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) is sent into therapy by his Baptist minister father (Russell Crowe) and devout mother (Nicole Kidman) after they discover his “condition.” Needless to say, the boy clashes with the therapist (Joel Edgerton).

Not only does Edgerton take a key acting role in this drama, he also directed, co-produced, and wrote the screenplay for the film. You’d think he’s a man with a mission.

“Boy Erased” is tackling this issue at Tropic Cinema.

The cast has quite a pedigree. Lucas Hedges was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Here, he stars opposite Academy Award-winners Crowe and Kidman. Edgerton was a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominee for his performance in “Loving.”

This will be Joel Edgerton’s second outing as a director following the sleeper hit “The Gift,” which earned him a nod for a Directors Guild of America Award.

Focus Features won a high-stakes bidding war with Netflix for this film. Focus has been behind such Academy Award-winning LGBT-themed films as “Beginners,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Danish Girl,” “Milk,” and “Brokeback Mountain.”

As a Focus exec explains, “Garrard’s story is both timely and timeless, both personal and universal. It is a story which will not only deeply move people, but one that we hope will change outlooks.”

Joel Edgerton hopes so too.

Yes, there’s a mission behind the dramatic entertainment.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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