Lucas Hedges already has one Oscar nod under his belt — thanks to his powerful work in “Manchester by the Sea” — but the impressive young actor might be heading for still more awards season glory, thanks to roles in not one, but two hard-hitting dramas arriving in the coming weeks. Hedges isn’t resting on his laurels these days, instead opting to dig into two big dramas focused on real world issues.
In December, Hedges will star alongside Julia Roberts in the drug drama “Ben Is Back,” directed by his own father Peter Hedges, but before that film hits screens, there’s his turn in Joel Egerton’s fact-based gay conversion drama “Boy Erased.”
Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, Hedges stars in the film as the teenage son of an outspoken preacher (played by Russell Crowe) and a loving Arkansas mother (Nicole Kidman). The film follows Jared (Hedges) as he grapples with his hidden homosexuality in a culture, community, and home that refuse to accept or acknowledge it.
Eventually, Jared is sent to a gay conversion program, led by an iron-fisted Christian (Edgerton himself), where he meets other young people in his same position and is forced to come to a deeper understanding of his own identity.
At this year’s Telluride Film Festival, where the film debuted, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote: “The result is a powerfully conflicted portrait of the relationship between love and hate, a story in which all but the ugliest bigotries can be traced back to a misguided sense of protection. While Edgerton’s fractured approach has a frustrating way of compartmentalizing his characters into their own subplots, making it hard for the movie to convey the full sweep of its emotional journey, ‘Boy Erased’ regards everyone with such raw empathy that even its most difficult moments are fraught with the possibility of forgiveness.”
The film also stars Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Jesse LaTourette, Joe Alwyn, and Britton Sear.
Focus Features will release “Boy Erased” in select theaters on Friday, November 2. Watch the newest trailer below.