PRAY AWAY (2021)
A revealing exploration of conversion therapy over the past few decades that is equal parts informative and infuriating, Pray Away is a necessary watch as the destructive practices continue today.
Director Kristine Stolakis’ Pray Away follows five evangelicals who broke away from groups, most notably Exodus, that weaponized faith against LGBTQ individuals under the guise of “curing them.” The film delivers as a documentary with good use of historical footage and first-hand interviews to guide the narrative. It also absolutely incensed me from the start, conversion therapy being severely harmful and those that contributed to the movement, who championed it publicly, are now openly identifying as LGBTQ. Make no mistake, there are individuals shown in this film that should very well be in prison for the sustained harm afflicted on countless young, impressionable people.
LGBTQ individuals already have an internal struggle, their true identities attempting to claw themselves out at varying paces, but similar intensities. To be pressured in the name of faith to change behaviors associated with homosexuality, which is equated to some of the most heinous crimes imaginable by the subjects, is disgusting beyond belief. And still, conversion therapy is still rampant throughout the world, even in the United States.
Pray Away checks all of the boxes as a deep dive into what, in my eyes, amounts to a cult. It anger you and challenge you, but it will also open your eyes to something you may not have been aware of. Those impacted need these stories to be told.
Pray Away hits Netflix Tuesday.
Photo from Netflix