Joel Edgerton stars and directs this true story of a boy who is forced to attend gay conversion therapy. Starring Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea), Nicole Kidman (Aquaman, Lion) and Russel Crowe (Gladiator).
This was based on the memoirs of Garrad Conley (adapted by Joel Edgerton) about his struggles with feelings towards men, having been brought up by Baptist (his father is a preacher) parents who, when he came out, sent him to have the controversial “treatment”.
The film is successful in showing the battle of faith of his father (Crowe) and mother (Kidman) as well Garrad’s own journey of acceptance of who he is. What is less successful is the rather flat depiction of the perpetrators of the conversion therapy (lead by Joel Edgerton’s – Victor Sykes). Having said that, I did find the scenes in the therapy centre to be almost suffocating and anger-inducing.
All around the acting is superb. It reminded me just how good an actor Russel Crowe can be. But the stand out was Nicole Kidman as the mother torn between her faith (and that of her husband) and maternal instinct to protect her son.
The film is an overall success but just has something missing to make it a great film. Maybe a longer running time to allow a greater focus on the conversion staff would have helped. That said, this is a very important story about a horrific process that kids across American are being subjected to.
Rating – 7.5
Should you go and see it – Yes although probably more suited to home viewing. An important subject told via great acting.