Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, Cherry Jones, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Joe Alwyn, Emily Hinkler, Madelyn Cline, Flea
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Coming-of-age bio-drama written and directed by Joel Edgerton. This true story follows Jared (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents, Marshall and Nancy Conley (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman) at age 19. Jared is then pressured into attending a gay conversion therapy program, or else be shunned by his family, friends, and church. It is within the program that Jared comes into conflict with its head therapist, Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton).
Our Favorite Quote:'I think we're our own God. I mean, I think he's in us. In all of us, not, you know, somewhere hiding and watching.' - Xavier (Boy Erased) Click To Tweet
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 31)
Jared Eamons: [voice over] I wish none of this had ever happened. But sometimes, I thank God that it did.
[after Jared has signed in for first day at the gay conversion therapy program]
Aaron: Do you want to say your goodbyes?
Nancy Eamons: Can I see the place?
Aaron: I’m afraid you won’t be allowed beyond the reception area, Mrs. Eamons, but you can pick him up at 5:00 pm.
Nancy Eamons: Oh, okay.
Jared Eamons: It’s okay, Mom.
Nancy Eamons: Well, call me any time. I’ll be at the hotel on my cell phone.
Aaron: Uh, we will be holding his cell phone. If there are any emergencies, we will contact you. But otherwise, 5:00 pm.
[she kisses Jared’s hand before he leaves her behind]
Nancy Eamons: You’ll do great. Love you.
Victor Sykes: Welcome to the Refuge Program.
[to the program attendees]
Victor Sykes: Now, I’m going to tell you something that’s going to make you immediately feel a little better. People tell you you can be born gay, that’s not true. You cannot be born a homosexual, this is a lie. Now, I’m a counselor and a pastor, but was I born that way? No. It’s behavioral. It’s a choice.
[to the program attendees]
Brandon: Get familiar with this phrase, “Fake it till you make it.”
[to the program attendees]
Brandon: Fake it till you make it. Become the man you are not.
[to the program attendees]
Victor Sykes: I’m trying to help you. So, do not waste my time. Nobody is to discuss the therapy outside these walls!
Marshall Eamons: I just need you to tell me the truth, that’s all. What this man says of you, Jared. Are you a homosexual?
[Jared gets up and walks off]
Marshall Eamons: Jared. We are not finished!
Jared Eamons: I am, because you won’t listen.
Nancy Eamons: Honey. Honey.
Marshall Eamons: What this man says, is it true? Answer me!
[Marshall grabs hold of Jared’s arm]
Jared Eamons: What, this full-of-shit guy, who is not a counselor, who raped a kid at his own church, and God knows who else! Dad, you’re hurting me.
[Marshall lets go of his arm]
Nancy Eamons: Marshall.
Jared Eamons: His name is Henry Wallace. He’s not a counselor, he’s a student.
Nancy Eamons: Alright.
Jared Eamons: And he told me he did some bad things. I think he thinks I’m going to tell on him.
Nancy Eamons: Honey.
Marshall Eamons: Son.
[Jared goes up to his room]
Marshall Eamons: You know, Jared, as far as I can tell, we’ve only got one God-given right, that is when a man and a woman come together, they may create life. You think how much God must love mankind to give us that awesome responsibility.
Jared Eamons: Dad, it’s really not true.
Jared Eamons: [to his parents] I broke up with Chloe because… We broke up because I think it’s true, about me. God help me. I think about men. I don’t know why, and I’m so sorry.
Nancy Eamons: Pastor Wilkes has dealt with this kind of thing before. Jim has a son, Eddie, who, um, you were a little boy, but, anyway.
Jared Eamons: What did they do to him?
Nancy Eamons: Oh, no. You silly thing. They didn’t do anything to him. They did things for him. Alright? Just like they’re going to do things for you. Your father’s wondering, he’s wondering how to help. Come here.
[she embraces him]
Nancy Eamons: It’s all going to be alright.
Marshall Eamons: Your mother and I, we cannot see a way that you can live under this roof, attend service and work at the dealership, if you’re going to fundamentally go against the grain of our beliefs, and against God himself. I’m going to ask you that question now, son. In your heart, do you want to change?
[Jared looks at Nancy]
Jared Eamons: Yes. Yes, I want to change.
Marshall Eamons: Come a little closer, son. Pastor Wilkes, could you ask Jesus to shine his light on my boy at this time?
[they all hold hands as they pray]
Pastor Wilkes: Heavenly Father, I ask your blessing for this family. Give them strength. Unleash your power for one of your flock, Jared, who has lost his way. We pray, Lord, that you make him pure and that you return him safely back to us and see that the errors of his way are nothing more than a momentary straying. We pray that he see the path of faith and that he strive to be honest and that he then find the joy of a new life. In His name we pray.
Marshall Eamons: Amen.
Dr. Muldoon: Your father’s asked me to take some of your blood. He wants me to check for testosterone levels. I’m in a bit of a bind here, Jared, and I said this to your mother too. Now, I’m a religious woman, there’s no question, but I have also been to medical school. And, well, you can say that I hold science in one hand and God in the other, and that is not always an easy balance. And I know that everybody would like for me to say otherwise and send you down to the pharmacy for a pill that would magically fix you, but that’s not going to happen. But I’m going to take your blood, and I know what it’s going to show me. That you are a perfectly normal, very healthy teenage boy.
Dr. Muldoon: Jared, it’s not my place to tell you that your parents are wrong, but let’s say that they are wrong. I understand your father signed you up for a program next month. Whatever happens next, it is still your choice. It may not feel that way, but it is. You’re eighteen. Do you have anything that you’d like to say to me? Any questions?
Jared Eamons: No.
Victor Sykes: Jared, I’ve seen your reading list for college. I have it here, and listen, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lolita, I mean, some of these books, Jared, considering everything that’s going on for you right now, I don’t know that college is really the best thing for you to be pursuing at all. A year with us may be a much, much better use of your time, given everything that I see, and everything that’s at stake. And I’m willing to say that to your parents.
Victor Sykes: Jared, the people that get the most out of this place are the people that are just really brave and honest and lay everything on the table, ugly as it seems, and fess up to what God already sees. And then, I can really truly assess what is the best future for you. Okay, son?
Jared Eamons: Yeah. Yeah.
[Jared is in Xavier’s apartment]
Xavier: Do you believe in the Devil? Did he look like me?
Jared Eamons: I don’t know.
[Jared smokes the joint Xavier offers him]
Jared Eamons: Do you know Job from the Bible?
Xavier: Not personally. I hear he’s not great company. Always complaining.
Jared Eamons: I imagine I’m him sometimes. And that God and the Devil are having a bet over me. That one day God will let me in on the experiment he was having to test me.
Xavier: I think we’re our own God. I mean, I think he’s in us. In all of us, not, you know, somewhere hiding and watching.
[he pauses for a moment]
Xavier: Stay with me. Nothing needs to happen. I swear. I’ll prove to you that God won’t strike you down.
[getting the attendees to participate in an exercise in front of each other]
Cameron: You wronged me, Dad, And I hate the way…
Victor Sykes: Louder, Cameron. Can’t hear you. Come on. I’ll bring him closer, there he is.
Cameron: You wronged me, Dad, and I hate you for the way that you treated me since you found out about my problems.
Victor Sykes: No, about your sin. Say that. “About my sin.” Go. “About my sins.” Come on, Cameron. “My homosexual sins.” Come on, Cameron. Cameron!
Jared Eamons: I can go. I don’t mind.
Victor Sykes: No, no, no. Jared, everybody gets a turn. This is Cameron’s turn. “About my sins!” Come on!
Cameron: Found out about my sins. I hate that you never listen to me, or acknowledge me. And when you do acknowledge me, it’s to make fun of me in front of my friends.
Victor Sykes: “It’s to make fun of me.”
Cameron: To make fun of me in front of my friends. And that time that you told me that you wished I’d never been born. That really hurt me.
Victor Sykes: Cameron. Now, you say that you’re angry, but quite frankly, I don’t really see it. Well, what’s going on in there, Cameron, huh? Do you want to change? Now you’re going to wish you hadn’t been born, son, because God will not love you the way that you are right now. Unless you really want to change. Well? Come on!
[Cameron sighs, but doesn’t respond]
Victor Sykes: Well, I guess not. I guess not. Okay. Let’s take a break. And you are going to stay here until you are ready to go. Everybody but Cameron, take a break.
[the others start to leave]
Victor Sykes: Now I don’t care if you sit there all day, son.
[referring to the program]
Jon: Do you even want this to work?
Jared Eamons: Of course I do. We’re all trying to make this work. I’m having a tough time too, just like you are.
Gary: Are you okay?
Jared Eamons: I’m fine. I’m fine.
Gary: I’m going to give you some advice. Play the part. Show them it’s working. You’re getting better. Fake it until you make it, right? You don’t want to end up in one of those houses for any length of time. I’ve heard the stories and they’re not good. And that’s where you’re likely going to end up. Sarah’s already there. So, play the part, man. And then, once you’re home, you got to figure out what to do next. If it comes down to it, you may have to walk away from everything, everyone.
Gary: [to Jared] You’re going to be on the podium any day now, so you should have a plan. Unless you really think you can change, or even want to.
[after Cameron failed his exercise with Sykes, they make him attend his own fake funeral service]
Reverend Neil: Sadly, we are gathered here today to say farewell to our son, our friend, and our brother, Cameron Van Heusen, who by his own making last night, fell prey to Satan’s wishes. Brother Van Heusen, is this what you want for your son?
Cameron’s Father: No.
[referring to the coffin]
Reverend Neil: Young man, is this you?
[Cameron shakes his head]
Reverend Neil: Brother Cameron, is this what you want?
Cameron: [sobbing] No.
[to Cameron’s father and brother]
Reverend Neil: Both of you, come on. Bring him down here.
Cameron’s Father: Let’s go.
[they make Cameron kneel down in front of everybody]
Reverend Neil: Who’s going to strike this demon down?
Cameron’s Father: I Will.
[he takes the bible]
Reverend Neil: Out, you demon!
[he hits Cameron with the bible]
Reverend Neil: Hit him!
[he hits Cameron again]
Cameron’s Father: Get out of him!
Reverend Neil: That’s it.
Cameron’s Father: Out!
[he hits Cameron with the bible again]
Reverend Neil: Leave, demon! Leave!
Victor Sykes: I just want to make use of some of this anger. Uh, wait. Guys, just sit. Just stay where you are, okay?
[pulls a chair forward]
Victor Sykes: Here he is, Jared. Your father is sitting here and I want you to tell him how affected you are by him, and how angry you are. Tell him how you hate him for the things that he’s, the way, you can sit down. Sit down.
Jared Eamons: But I’m not angry.
Victor Sykes: Yeah, I know.
Jared Eamons: And he’s done things that upset me, but…
Victor Sykes: But you are. You’re angry, but you don’t…
Jared Eamons: He’s let me down. Why do I have to be angry?
Victor Sykes: Just sit. Sit down.
Jared Eamons: I’m not a dog.
Victor Sykes: I know.
Jared Eamons: And I don’t think anyone is responsible for me, so I don’t see how it’s going to help picking someone to blame or hate.
Victor Sykes: If you don’t hate anyone, Jared, then where is all this anger coming from?
Jared Eamons: Because you’re making me angry.
Victor Sykes: There you go! I want you to use that!
Jared Eamons: I’m not going to pretend I hate my father. I don’t hate my father.
Victor Sykes: Jared, you do.
Jared Eamons: You don’t know me! You’re all crazy! All of you!
[Jared starts to leave]
Victor Sykes: Hey! I didn’t… Just… Jared.
Jared Eamons: You’re in my chair! There you go! I hate you!
Victor Sykes: Jared!
Jared Eamons: But how does that help?
Jared Eamons: I called my mom and she’s coming to get me.
Victor Sykes: Listen, you got to understand what you’re going through right now is just a moment.
Jared Eamons: A moment? A moment?
Victor Sykes: Okay. And I feel exactly what you’re going through. I think that you and I should just get everybody gone and we just talk.
Jared Eamons: I don’t want to talk. I want to go.
Victor Sykes: Well, Jared, I don’t want you to. I want you to stay.
Jared Eamons: Well, I read the rules, and none of them say you can stop me from leaving.
Victor Sykes: I wouldn’t.
Victor Sykes: Can you just check where Brandon is, please?
Jared Eamons: And if you or anyone puts their hands on me, I have witnesses.
Victor Sykes: Nobody’s going to put their hands on you. Why would anybody do that? Come and sit. We’re going to wait for your mom, okay?
[Nancy comes to take Jared away from the program]
Nancy Eamons: Jared, come on.
Victor Sykes: I just, I think it’s more important for his development right now that he…
Nancy Eamons: Don’t even listen to him. Get in the car. Get in the car.
Victor Sykes: You’re going to ruin that child.
Nancy Eamons: What are your actual qualifications, Mr. Sykes? I never asked. Hm? Are you a doctor? Are you? Psychologist? I mean, a proper one? Are you?
[Sykes doesn’t reply]
Nancy Eamons: No. I didn’t think so.
[as she drives off with Jared]
Nancy Eamons: Shame on you! Shame on me, too. Shame on you!
[after Nancy has gotten Jared out of the program]
Nancy Eamons: I talked to your father. He wants you to go back. I told him we’ll see him at home. I told him you’re not going back. You know, that night, when Pastor Wilkes and Jim came to the house? Those men decided what to do with you, and I just, I fell into line, like I usually do. They say sometimes you got to hurt a child in order to help them, and that may be so with some things, but a mother knows when something isn’t right. And I knew in my bones this wasn’t hurting to help. I was just letting you down, and I kept my mouth shut. And I will always regret that. But I can do a different thing now, now that I have a chance. I’ll handle your father. He can fall into line with me for a change.
[giving a sermon with Jared and Nancy sitting with the rest of parishioners]
Marshall Eamons: Some folk, they don’t go to church for the right reasons. Now, you know the type of person I’m talking about. They just turn up. They don’t use every day of their Christian life to praise the Lord and help bring others to His word. It might be your neighbor, it might be your friend, it might be just a face you only ever see at church. They just turn up. I will tell something that I know. Just turning up to church does not make you a Christian! Study the Bible. Study His word. I can guarantee you, every question you have, you going to find an answer in this book.
[he finishes by looking straight at Jared and Nancy]
Jared Eamons: Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you at church?
Nancy Eamons: I go, sometimes. I support your dad, and…
Jared Eamons: Mom, what’s going on with you two?
Nancy Eamons: Jared, he knows. I can’t be around the… I love God. God loves me. And I love my son. That simple. For your father, it’s a little more complicated. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.
Jared Eamons: I don’t want to pretend anymore. We don’t need to spend time together. We don’t need to speak unless we’re going to talk to each other properly. Like you’ve done some things that have really hurt me. Like you never asked if there was more to my story at college. You never asked if I was okay. You were too focused on how it affected you. There’s so many things that we’ve never spoken about. And I don’t know if we ever will.
Marshall Eamons: Yeah.
Marshall Eamons: I understand. We all got our own paths. The truth is, I want you to do well. I want you to have a great life. I love you. But I can’t pretend either. There are things I disagree with. And I’ll admit, I’ll be honest, I’m, you know, I am being prideful when I resent the fact that I may never be a grandparent. Now, that’s just the truth. It’s hard for me to admit that I have hurt you. And that with my beliefs, and with all that’s gone on, I understand I may have set myself up to lose you. And I’ve had to ask myself, and God, if I’m ready for that. I do not want to lose you.
Jared Eamons: Well, it doesn’t feel like that. I’m sick of avoiding you. I’m sick of talking about nothing. I’m sick of it. I’m gay, and I’m your son. And neither of those things are going to change. Okay, so let’s deal with that. Or let’s call it a day. Both of us would be okay, but that would be a shame. I’m not changing. There’s no changing me. God knows I tried. So, if you mean it, if you really mean that, and you’re not ready to lose me, then I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to be the one to change.
Marshall Eamons: I understand. I am going to try. I’ll try.
Jared Eamons: I got to get going.
[he turns to leave, but stops walks back towards his father]
Jared Eamons: Dad, I’ve invited Mom to my place for Christmas. You’re welcome to come, too.
[he turns and leaves]
Total Quotes: 31
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