2020 Tribeca Film Festival: Two years ago, a pair of movies came out that took on the horrid practice of conversion therapy. Both “Boy Erased” and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” took narrative and heavily dramatic looks at how the devoutly religious can damage their children. Back in 1999, “But I’m a Cheerleader” took a somewhat more comedic look at that practice. Now, the documentary “Pray Away” goes the non-fiction route. In the process, the film manages to hammer home far deeper emotions than any of the above titles could hope for.
“Pray Away” details how a level of toxic homophobia and overall fear of those who are different can have searing consequences. In some ways, this is a horror movie, and not just because Blumhouse is a production company on it, complete with Jason Blum on hand as an Executive Producer. The horrific nature of what individuals sent to these supposed therapy programs would be right at home in genre fare. The smiles and colloquial nature mask something deeply disturbed. When hatred runs rampant, no matter in what manner, everyone loses. For the subjects in this doc, however, the losses are potentially everlasting.