Movie Mondays ~ Monday, August 19, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, August 19, 2019

 

This week was a hectic one, so there’s only one film review to share again. I foresee another week with very little downtime lies ahead. Maybe even the one after that. My apologies, fellow movie fans, but it may not be until after Labor Day when I get my flick on properly once more. I appreciate your patience with me, and I promise that I should be back watching movie after movie again in the comfy chair soon (Gasp! The Comfy Chair?! cue the Spanish Inquisition sketch music from Monty Python.) As always, I do appreciate you stopping by and having a read. ~ Chris K.

 

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 08/12/2019 – 08/18/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)

 

 

 

90. Boy Erased

Drama, Biography (2018)
Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton

 

This was a film I was looking forward to seeing when it was released last year, but though I thought it might garner a top Oscar nod or two, it didn’t, so I focused at the time on seeing those films listed on my Oscar Run of nominated films and performances. Now it’s time I catch up on those others I actually wanted  to see. The film is based on the memoir of writer Garrard Conley, who shares his own experiences being outed involuntarily as a young man and forced to attend a gay conversion therapy program his father’s church supported to (as they might put it) ‘help him see the light’ about his homosexuality. According to them, it was a choice he had been making and one rejected by God, and therfore, the church and since Dad was pastor…well, you can guess how happy mom and pops are with the breaking news.

 

 

The film follows the young Conley played by Lucas Hedges who tackles the tough lead role with capability. The actor has a unique blend of vulnerability and quiet rebellion about him onscreen that makes for an interesting portrayal and works well for a character at odds with himself, his family and all that he has been taught.

 

 

The film can be quite intense at times and slow-moving at others. This appears to be actor Edgerton’s sophomore directorial gig, and it feels a little uneven at times but managed to hold my attention. Edgerton’s portrayal of the fiery and at times, slithery “counselor” of the program is riveting and downright creepy at times (a similar reaction to the unexpected support by rocker-turned-actor Flea who turns in a strong performance of quite the unlikable chap!) The core acting ensemble is top-notch as you might expect given the names listed above.

 

 

I’ve seen some criticism of the film for what might appear to be a sweeping generalization where all male figures are concerned – portrayed here as negative and hateful people with only dear old mom showing any kindness in her sweet, loving heart. There may be a little truth to that critique, but not having read the memoir, I have no way of knowing (a) how well this captures the tone of the book and (b) how accurately portrayed these real-life based male figures are. I will say that one aspect of the film that stood out for me is the chemistry between the actors who play the family. Crowe is uncharacteristically restrained in a role where he could deliver over the top, and sometimes in his scenes as pastor, he gives you the truth-telling, bible-gripping church leader you would expect to see in this quiet town. But in his moments with Kidman or Hedges or both, a different Crowe emerges and I truly enjoy watching a masterful actor like him settle into these meaningful supporting roles along with Kidman who both are quickly reminding us that they can continue to sweep us off our movie-going feet even in the smaller roles if the content is strong enough or the characters complex. Kidman was memorable and often gives a look or a subtle movement of the head, and no words are needed. She demonstrates her scene stealing talent regularly, even with no dialogue at hand.

 

 

This is a film that reminds viewers to set aside their assumptions, their audiotapes of stern warnings and Sunday school mornings, looping in their heads , and withhold all judgment and take it in — one man’s story, one family’s story, and in some way – big or small – our own story, y for each of us sets out everyday to live OUR own truth and this writer, this son, this gay man is no different than the rest of us— if the people we trust and look up to most of all, learn how to support our efforts to live that truth.

 

Good movie.

 

 

 

Score: 86

 

BoyErased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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