Here are the quick movie reviews for “Boy Erased” and “A Private War”.
Raw empathy, the way which “Boy Erased” best regards its characters along the overall films subtle and nuanced approach to the topic of gay conversion therapy. The second directorial effort from Joel Edgerton is one of quiet emotional catharsis that for some will contain a long slow afterburn. First and foremost though the array of performances here from the likes of Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, and Nicole Kidman are all fantastic. Hedges continues to show why he’s one of the shining stars of his generation, while Crowe and Kidman both sustain themselves in the most un-showy of work. Though the films not perfect in the end as its fractured approach to the narrative turns to be very frustrating at times, as it pigeonholes some of its characters into their own subplots, which ends up affecting the films overall emotional journey. With that being said though, this film is still full of multiple scenes that blossom from tour de force performances and in the end is a film where the final scenes are so resonant because, for once, the queer kid isn’t the character who’s forced to make peace for who they are.
A Private War
Fighting for the voiceless, an act which war correspondent Marie Colvin was too familiar with and here Matthew Heineman’s narrative feature directorial debut contains the most raw of reality. Heineman’s great documentary background ultimately is key to this films narrative realism, as the visceral nature of street warfare delivers a haunting relevance. As well though the lead performance from Rosamund Pike is some of her best work to date. Pike delivers the lived-in ferocity of Colvin and her go-for-it personality, that powered her brilliant work as a journalist. As the title suggests the defining war that Colvin fought was on her own and Heineman never turns away from it, showing Colvin’s harsh battle with both alcoholism and PTSD. The film though does get a little clumsy at times, it still prevails through its moving tribute to such a heroine. “I see these things so you don’t have to”, a line which Colvin says suggests the means of her job. But I feel Matthew Heineman doesn’t take her word and argues that Colvin sees these things because she can’t look away. And by making this film he implicitly argues that Colvin sees these things so that the rest of us will too.