Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle, Sasha Lane, Forest Goodluck
WRITTEN BY ELENA MORGAN
When Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is discovered making out with a female classmate, she’s sent to a gay conversion therapy center called God’s Promise by her conservative aunt.
‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ balances the humour and the darkness of Cameron’s situation very well. It is a funny film with teenage characters acting like regular teenagers while having these expectations hanging over them like a dark cloud. Cameron befriends Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forest Goodluck) two “disciples” who have learned to say what the teachers at God’s Promise want to hear but don’t believe a word of it. They’re more likely to be found growing weed in the woods than reading passages from the bible. The three of them form a connection that allows them to support one another when things get tough, sometimes without saying anything at all.
Having ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ set in 1993 makes the isolation that Cameron, Jane, Adam and the rest of the young people at the center feel all the more poignant. While unfortunately there are still conversion therapy camps, the internet and social media allow the young people to be more informed and to find others who are like them in the world.
Chloë Grace Moretz gives a great yet subtle performance leading the viewer to never really know whether she’s buying into what Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) are preaching or if she’s still convinced that what she feels isn’t wrong like they say. Dr. Marsh’s explanation for the SSA (same-sex attraction) that Cameron and the others feel, can be convincing and there are times where it appears Cameron doubts her own mind and feelings.
Reverend Rick is a tragic character as he’s someone that has apparently worked past his SSA and is something of a role model for the teenagers. But, he’s just as lost and unsure as the rest of them but must appear to know all the answers. Rick seems like a nice guy, and even though Lydia is overbearing and cold, you can see that she believes in what she’s doing, and that it’s the best for all involved. In reality what Cameron and the rest of the teens experience is emotional abuse, but it’s hard for Cameron to put that feeling into words.
While the subject matter of ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ can be dark and shocking, it is still a funny, coming-of-age story. It’s about young people supporting one another as they figure out themselves, and when adults won’t listen to them or trust them, they’ll forge their own path.