Boy Erased

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Boy Erased
Boy Erased (2018 poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joel Edgerton
Produced by
Written by
  • Joel Edgerton
Based on Boy Erased
by Garrard Conley
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
Cinematography Eduard Grau
Edited by Jay Rabinowitz
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date
  • September 1, 2018 (2018-09-01) (Telluride)
  • November 2, 2018 (2018-11-02) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.5 million[1]

Boy Erased is a 2018 American biographical drama film based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir of the same name. It is written for the screen and directed by Joel Edgerton, who also produces with Kerry Kohansky Roberts and Steve Golin. The film stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton, and follows the son of Baptist parents who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program.

The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2018, its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2018, and was released in the United States on November 2, 2018, by Focus Features.


Jared Eamons[a] (Lucas Hedges) is the son of Marshall Eamons (Russell Crowe), a successful car dealer and Baptist preacher, and Nancy Eamons (Nicole Kidman), a self-styled hairdresser. The film begins in medias res, with Jared entering into his first day at the Love In Action gay conversion therapy program. Chief therapist Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton) tells the group that their sexuality is a choice brought on by poor parenting and makes them perform critical analysis of their genealogies, instructing them not to tell anyone of what occurs in the sessions. Nancy rents a nearby motel for her and Jared to stay in until he completes the program, which Jared discovers has no set end point and may require him to permanently move into an on-campus home if he fails to convince Sykes that he has become straight.

Flashbacks reveal how Jared became enrolled in the program. Jared leads a well-adjusted and happy life through high school until he breaks up with his girlfriend upon starting college. Once there, he makes friends with another student, Henry (Joe Alwyn), and has a brief intimate encounter with an art student, Xavier (Théodore Pellerin). While staying the night in Jared's dorm, Henry rapes Jared and tearfully confesses that he has done the same another young man. Traumatized, Jared returns home to recover. Henry calls the Eamons' home and poses as a school counselor in order to out Jared and ensure his silence. Jared confesses to being attracted to men. After consulting with other pastors, Marshall signs him up for conversion therapy, to which Jared reluctantly agrees.

Weeks into his therapy, Jared gets to know the other attendees also seeking to become straight. Some, like Jon (Xavier Dolan), are fanatically devoted to conversion to the point where they refuse to even touch other men. Others like Gary (Troye Sivan) are merely "playing the part", hoping to be released and then return to a normal life. At Nancy's insistence, Jared lets his mother read the program's handbook, which is full of questionable psychology and obvious grammatical errors. After failing an exercise, attendee Cameron (Britton Sear) is humiliated in front of the group and intimidated with a fake funeral service. Cameron is then beaten with Bibles by the therapists and his own family and forcibly dunked in a bathtub in one of the program's prison-like homes.

Jared challenges Sykes when the latter suggests during an exercise that he and his father hate each other. He storms out of the room, successfully retrieving his phone and calling Nancy to pick him up. Nancy removes Jared from the program and takes him home, horrified and ashamed that she allowed Marshall to enroll him without researching the program's practices for themselves. Marshall is furious about Jared dropping out of the program and refuses to talk to him. Soon after, Jared learns that Cameron committed suicide.

While recovering from his experience, Jared goes on to move to New York with his boyfriend and write an article that exposes the realities of conversion therapy. Jared returns home to pressure his father into reading the article and taking accountability for his actions. The two begin to reconcile.

An epilogue reveals that the leaders of many conversion therapy groups were fired in the wake of Jared’s memoir, although many therapy groups still remain active. Jared remains active for LGBTQ causes, while Sykes stepped down from Love Is Action and married a man himself.



Garrard Conley and Joel Edgerton at Telluride Film Festival.

On June 8, 2017, it was revealed that a bidding war had begun between Netflix, Annapurna Pictures, Focus Features, and Amazon Studios for distribution rights to a film package that would star Lucas Hedges and Joel Edgerton, with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and be directed and written by Edgerton and based on the provocative memoir titled Boy Erased: A Memoir.[2] On June 21, 2017, it was announced that the bidding war for distribution rights for Boy Erased had boiled down to Netflix and Focus Features and the latter ultimately won the rights.[3]

In the press release, director Joel Edgerton spoke proudly of the project, stating:

I'm excited to work with an ensemble of actors, seasoned and new, to bring Garrard's story to the screen. I think Focus is the perfect partner on this, and I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story. I can't think of a better reason to get behind the camera again.[4]

In August 2017, the majority of the supporting cast was announced.[5] In September 2017, Joe Alwyn and Madelyn Cline joined the supporting cast as well[6][7] and principal photography on the film began September 8, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.[8][9] In April 2018, re-shoots took place.[10][11][12]


The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2018.[13][14] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, first for the press and industry on September 8, 2018, and then for the public on September 11, 12, and 15.[15] The film was scheduled for a wide release on September 28, 2018,[16] but this was pushed back to November 2, 2018.[17]


Box office

Boy Erased opened in five theaters and grossed $207,057 in its opening weekend, an average of $41,411 per venue, the 5th best of 2018. In its second weekend it grossed $758,173 from 77 theaters. [18]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Anchored in empathy by writer-director-star Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased proves the road to complex, powerfully performed drama can also be paved with good intentions."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film a 95% overall positive score and an 85% "definite recommend".[18]


On October 18, 2018, the San Diego International Film Festival announced the film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Studio Feature.[21]


  1. ^ a b In the film, Conley's character is renamed Jared Eamons, along with other real life characters who had been renamed, for the film


  1. ^ "Boy Erased (2018)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (June 8, 2017). "Joel Edgerton To Direct, Lucas Hedges To Star In Gay Deprogram Drama 'Boy Erased'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  3. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (June 21, 2017). "Focus Lands Joel Edgerton's 'Boy Erased'; Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (June 21, 2017). "Focus Features Buys Joel Edgerton's Drama 'Boy Erased'". Variety. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 30, 2017). "Cherry Jones, Michael "Flea" Balzary Join Joel Edgerton's 'Boy Erased'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (September 8, 2017). "Camille Guaty Joins 'Nappily Ever After'; 'Boy Erased' Adds Madelyn Cline; Mark O'Brien Cast In 'How It Ends'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 8, 2017). "'Billy Lynn' Star Joe Alwyn Joins Russell Crowe in 'Boy Erased,' Oscar Isaac in 'Operation Finale' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  8. ^ "Joe Alwyn Joins the Cast of Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased". September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  9. ^ Kilday, Gregg (June 21, 2017). "Joel Edgerton to Write, Produce Coming-Out Drama 'Boy Erased'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ P.King, Kevin (April 24, 2018). "CL Casting BOY ERASED RESHOOT Seeking a few boys ages 18-35 Any Ethnicity Seeking people with cars 2004 or older". The Southern Casting Call. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nicole Kidman's "Boy Erased" Casting Re-Shoots". 2018-04-20. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  12. ^ Caldwell, Mary (April 25, 2018). "Now casting: Nicole Kidman film seeking men, older cars". Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  13. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (August 30, 2018). "'First Man,' 'Front Runner' and 'Roma' Among 2018 Telluride Film Festival Selections". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "Telluride Film Festival Program Guide" (PDF). Telluride Film Festival. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "Boy Erased". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 27, 2017). "'Mary, Queen Of Scots', 'Boy Erased' & 'The Little Stranger': Focus Features Dates Trio For Next Fall". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 2, 2018). "Focus Features Changes Dates For 'Boy Erased' & 'On The Basis Of Sex' In The Fall-Holiday Window". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Brooks, Brian (November 4, 2018). "'Boy Erased' With Robust Bow; 'A Private War' Aims OK: Specialty Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "Boy Erased (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  20. ^ "Boy Erased Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  21. ^ "San Diego Intl Film Festival on Instagram: “AUDIENCE CHOICE BEST STUDIO PREMIERE Boy Erased @boyerased @nicolekidman @russellcrowe @joeledgerton @xavierdolan”". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-11-14.

External links

  • Boy Erased on IMDb
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