Lucas Hedges, who came to prominence as the son in Manchester by the Sea, has a certain appealing earnestness about this, one exploited to the full by director Joel Edgerton in this sincere drama about a young man sent to gay conversion therapy camp by his Christian parents.
Hedges plays Jared so sweetly and senstively. To please his hefty lay preacher and car salesman Dad (Russell Crowe) and primly attractive Mum (Nicole Kidman), he attends the Arkansas camp, hoping to pray the gay away. It’s run by Edgerton’s Victor Sykes, a man with a terrible moustache.
There’s obvious horror watching these kids struggle with their sexuality and their faith, having the hell fire drummed into them, the sense of shame and guilt raining down on their young heads.
Although I was always rooting for Jared (and his Mom), I found the film serious in the right way but airless, occasionally tipping into piety and self-righteousness, unsure of where it’s climaxes and dramas lay – indeed one of the biggest shock reveals comes in the closing credits, and it’s worth waiting around for that one.