The Gift was a great, bleak, uncompromising little genre effort that proved that actor-turned-director Joel Edgerton had considerable behind-the-camera chops. Now his sophomore effort, the memoir adaptation Boy Erased, is already generating Oscar buzz.
One look at the trailer and it’s easy to see why – Edgerton’s take on Garrard Conley’s searing autobiography sees Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird) as a young gay man forced into conversion therapy by his devout Baptist parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman). Ostracised by his friends, outcast from his family, and shunned by his faith, he must find a way to be true to himself in the face of overwhelming pressure to deny himself.
This looks like it’s going to pack a wallop, and between Hedges, Crowe, and Kidman that’s a lot of Oscar cache in the cast alone. The trailer is soft-pedalling things just a bit, though; no matter how you slice it, conversion therapy is religion-endorsed homophobia, and a practice that attracts a body count. The trailer focuses on the family dynamic at hand, and seems to frame this as a lifestyle clash, but hopefully the overall film pulls no punches when depicting and condemning this hateful nonsense.
No Australian release date has been announced as yet, but the US is getting it in November, so somewhere around the same time is a safe bet.