Boy Erased is a 2018 American biographical drama film starting Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe. The film is based on a 2016 memoir by Garrard Conley about a son of a Baptist household who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program.
Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) is the son of Marshall Eamons (Russell Crowe), a successful car dealer and Baptist preacher in Arkansas, and Nancy Eamons (Nicole Kidman), a self-styled hairdresser. He begins his first day at the Love In Action gay conversion therapy assessment program. Chief therapist Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton) tells the group that their sexuality is a choice influenced by poor parenting. He instructs them to perform harsh "moral inventories" of themselves and their families and requires them not to tell anyone else about what occurs during the sessions. Nancy rents a nearby motel for her and Jared to stay in until he completes the assessment; however, Jared soon discovers that there is no set endpoint for the therapy and if he fails to conviy Skyes that he is straight, he may move into an on-campus home.
Prior to entering the program, Jared's life shows him well-adjusted and happy, but breaks up with his girlfriend before starting college. Jared befriends another student, Henry (Joe Alwyn), and has a brief, romantic, intimate encounter with an art student, Xavier (Théodore Pellerin). While staying the night in Jared's dorm room, Henry rapes Jared and tearfully confesses that he has done the same to another young man. Traumatized, Jared returns home to recover. To make sure Jared stays silent about that night, Henry calls the Eamons' home and poses as a school counselor and outs him. Jared confesses to being attracted to men. After consulting with other pastors, Marshall signs him up for conversion therapy, to which Jared reluctantly agrees.
Other people who are attending the program include Jon (Xavier Dolan), who is fanatically devoted to conversion to the point where they refuse to even touch other men and Gary (Troye Sivan), who is simply pretending the therapy is working so he is released and can live his life away. Nancy 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 by Sykes in front of the group and intimidated with a fake funeral service. Cameron is then beaten with bibles by both 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 therapist suggests during an exercise that Jared hates his father. He storms out of the room, successfully retrieves his mobile phone, and calls Nancy to pick him up. Though Sykes, his counselors, and the other attendees corner Jared, Cameron stands up for him and escorts Jared safely to Nancy, who takes him home, horrified and ashamed that she allowed Marshall to enroll him in an unvetted program without researching its practices. Marshall remains furious about Jared dropping out of the program and refuses to speak with him. Soon after, Jared learns that Cameron has committed suicide while still in the program's care. Jared becomes distraught. Marshall approaches Jared to console him, but Jared turns away.
Four years later, Jared has moved to New York City. He writes an article that exposes the realities of conversion therapy. Jared returns home to convince his father to read the article and take accountability for his actions. The two begin to reconcile.
- Lucas Hedges as Jared Eamons
- Nicole Kidman as Nancy Eamons
- Russell Crowe as Marshall Eamons
- Joel Edgerton as Victor Skye's
- Joe Alwyn as Henry Wallace
- Xavier Dolan as Jon
- Troye Sivan as Gary
- Britton Sear as Cameron
- Théodore Pellerin as Xavier
- Cherry Jones as Dr. Muldoon
- Flea as Brandon