The son of a Baptist preacher unwillingly participates in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.The son of a Baptist preacher unwillingly participates in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.The son of a Baptist preacher unwillingly participates in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.
That's the whole movie. Except for about 3 light moments scattered throughout the subject matter of conversion therapy and the environment our protagonist Jared is literally TRAPPED in is awful. The homophobia and control that the Love In Action conversion program enforces over the poor souls inducted into this brainwashing camp becomes increasingly extreme. The way it causes distress and breaks people is shown differently through the various side characters and none of it is good. This is a tragic story of the real abuse of LGBT people happening in the US (and gay conversion therapy isn't explicitly banned everywhere in Aus either).
I was on the edge of my seat, deeply breathing, sighing, putting my hands to my face in awe and distress, the whole way through. Just when I thought this movie couldn't get more uncomfortable it finds a new height.
It achieves all this through plot and intimate performances. Everything else is so stripped back and naturalistic. There's barely any music, or at least not very noticeable background music (with the exception of the song Revelation by Troye Sivan/Jonsi, which will likely vie for a nomination for best original song). It looks like they almost didn't have a lighting crew for more of the film, instead relying on house lighting for a dark, moody, or contrasting aesthetic. The whole thing feels not like a stylistic piece of cinema, but a realistic look at a person's life. Which is the point given it is inspired by the real experiences of someone who suffered through the abuse of conversion therapy. This film is so well put together.
I never want to watch it again. Which is weird for a film I love so much. But this movie is harrowing. It haunts me. I don't get very emotional over film but this subject and execution was just so deeply uncomfortable for such a long period of time that I don't feel the need to ever subject myself to that again. Which is a great recommendation if you want something to make you feel sad/distressed for nearly 2 hours straight.
- Dec 2, 2018