“love your neighbor”. The term referring to the teachings that served as a basis for the formation and development of Christian morality has been distorted from its true purpose of translating it within the imposing morality of man. As many movements within religious dogma have abandoned this orthodox stance, the expression of acceptance of the other and the preconceptions of social and family structures still face many conflicts.
In the United States, a morally accepted and normative country, 36 states allow the practice of “conversion therapy”, a process supported by religious and political fronts that aims to treat homosexual people so that they can return to their “normalcy”. “To get back in position. So-called “gay treatment” is a regressive, violent, insensitive and inhuman practice that can cause trauma and dire consequences for those who undergo it.
To consider that a homosexual person needs treatment, homosexuality is treated as a disease. More than 30 years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of diseases and apologized for an overwhelmingly biased and discriminatory decision. In Brazil, since 1999, the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP) has determined that no psychologist can carry out these types of activities, which are strictly prohibited.
Seeking to condemn the practice, Boy Erased: A Truth Nulified tells the story of Jared Emmons (Lucas Hedges), a young son of a Baptist church pastor, who returns to his family after one of these “rehabilitations”. is sent for. Center. The extremely delicate and sensitive subject moves between a wickedly theatrical appeal and more direct captures of powerful moments. The direction of Joel Edgerton, who also participates in the film, focuses more on generating a drama than a social trivia that accompanies the viewer, but he doesn’t at any point bother to dramatize the situation without a goal. Pick up forced approach.
Edgerton understands the situation as an escape from imprisonment and coercion from the social environment. Jared’s arrival at the center resembles a prisoner’s entrance into a prison. His freedom is taken by the place that forces him to adapt to the established rules of behavior aimed at a masculine posture. The “New Prisoner” dynamic also fits into the relationship with the characters John (Xavier Dolan) and Gary (Troy Sivan), where both have the role of presenting Jared with ways to escape the absurdity taken by the process.
The choice to treat adjacent characters as narrative mechanisms keeps relationships relevant to development in a distant and unrestricted way, such that Edgerton was not interested in seeing these other people going through the same situation. This distance is most noticeable when flashbacks from Jared’s past are introduced into the story. Two key moments are presented as very illustrative and without configuration to detail, one of them is being worked out in a completely irresponsible and problematic manner.
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Jared’s relationship with his mother Nancy Emmons (Nicole Kidman) and father Marshall Emmons (Russell Crowe) is throughout the drama of the film that is used superficially most of the time. The potential conflict between acceptance and trust is supported by a very objective relationship of the people involved. Marshall, as a father and as a religious figure, embodies the role of the intolerant which is guided by previous concepts. Their actions are taken by the imagination of a religious leader, but this does not directly address their beliefs as holders of questionable morality. As well as all the superficiality of the film of using the cross only as a means of visual stimulation, but which never really discusses what it means in that context. The American flag in the background in some scenes is perhaps the closest to some sort of commentary.
When Edgerton abandons programmed styling and relies on the power of performance, he achieves a more striking effect, through a more crude approach, while leaving a more exquisite naturalness. The film’s cathartic moment, in which Jared confronts both his mother and father, is revealed in a much more honest way, and even though the film does not develop the theme in the family environment, its satisfying results within the logic of forgiveness. is. and acceptance.
For a film that attempts to portray and condemn such absurdity, Edgerton, at times, ends dramatically and explores a delicate situation with some idealization of audience participation. . His approach, often far removed from the entire universe that is rife in this conflict, shows himself as a product that seeks to debate the subject, but only up to a certain point. From this premise, it is clear that he is too concerned with reaching the emotional, backed by great performances, but which hides his complete lack of sensitivity.
At one point, Gary tells Jared that his motto is “Fake it until you believe it.” It is clear that the phrase serves as a reminder to dress up a personality that does not represent you, trying to adapt to such accusations. But I think it also fits as a reminder to film with myself.