This week’s “Cogill Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast, features two films featuring young actor Lucas Hedges, “Boy Erased” and “Ben Is Back.” We also raise a glass to the new year, and the idea that every day you can take yourself on an adventure through the wine in your glass. A little more on that in my post on my Red Wine With Breakfast website, here. #EveryGlassIsAnAdventure
To listen to the show, click here, or listen through your favorite podcast site, including Spotify, iTunes, IHeartRadio or Google Play. More on the films from Gary below.
Also, we are heading back to Texas in two weeks for our annual “Wine and Film, Perfect Pairing – Oscar Preview” event. Gary and I are excited to return to Dallas January 27 for a special event with the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, detailing the best films of the year, with Gary giving his picks for who the Academy Award winner will be, with exceptional wines paired. More on the event, and to purchase tickets, here and search for events on January 27.
The Films: “Ben Is Back” and “Boy Erased”
“Ben Is Back” is a good film, an earnest film, but something seems to be missing.
Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich) gives a first rate performance as the mother of a teenaged son addicted to drugs and home for a week-end visit from rehab. Her performance resonates with emotion and determination.
Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Boy Erased) plays the troubled son who needs constant attention for fear of falling off the wagon and to say his surprise visit throws the family into chaos is an understatement. You root for him, but you don’t trust him.
“Ben Is Back” is written and directed by Peter Hedges (Dan In Real Life, About A Boy) with an immediate sense of urgency, particularly in the relationship between mother and son. It works most of the time but by the end feels a bit stagey and unsatisfying.
“Boy Erased” is a much better film starring Lucas Hedges as a 19 year old son sent to “Conversion Therapy” by his over protective parents when they discover he is gay. He’s a good kid who wants to please but it’s clear this young man has always been told what to think rather than taught how to think.
Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman play the Arkansas minster and his wife who truly believe you can, “pray the gay away,” and are out of touch with reality when it comes to their son’s heart and mind. It’s an eye opener and a hard lesson for both to learn when “therapy” doesn’t work.
Writer-director Joel Edgerton (Loving) plays the cult like leader who loves the sound of his own miss-guided voice more than he loves his “patients.” and is unaware of the serious damage he is inflicting on young minds and bodies.
“Boy Erased” reaches that higher level and is well worth the anguish just to get to the ending. There is a satisfying moment of enlightenment that happens in Edgerton’s fine film that keeps the audience from tearing it’s hair out and calling the authorities.
“Boy Erased” is based on a true story, one that unfortunately continues quietly in Christian circles around the country. It’s neither biblical or helpful, in fact, it’s been proven by professionals to be cruel and highly damaging.
- Gary Cogill