Joel Edgerton forever separated himself from being confused with Sam Worthington when it turned out he’s a good filmmaker with his debut feature film, The Gift. Now he’s following up that quasi-exploitation horror flick with Boy Erased, which he adapted from Garrard Conley’s memoir about being sent to gay conversion camp. If you’re thinking, “Wow that sounds like a bummer”, take a look at the trailer because it sure is, Janet. It also looks VERY good, with a killer cast and obvious Oscar appeal. It does remind me of Beautiful Boy, maybe because of the “miserable teen” hook of both movies, or maybe because Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet are two of the most visible young actors right now, or maybe it’s just the general air of misery with a faint whiff of redemption hanging about both stories. They don’t look the same, but these two movies definitely live in the same neighborhood.
Where Beautiful Boy seems really focused on the father-son relationship, Boy Erased looks like a true ensemble piece, with Lucas Hedges front and center and Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and Joel Edgerton surrounding him. (Incidental Fact: They’re all Aussies except for Hedges.) Boy Erased will obviously be making a run for Oscar later this year—you don’t put Crowe and Kidman together for anything less—so I’m wondering how big Kidman’s part is. Big enough for a lead actress run? She’s been doing some of her best work recently playing mothers in crisis, and this is a mother going through a LOT. I would not count Nicole Kidman out unless this movie turns out to be utter garbage. And if both this and Beautiful Boy pan out, we could end up with Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet facing off in award season. It would be Tumblr’s favorite Oscars ever.