The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Chloë Grace Moretz, Marin Ireland, Jennifer Ehle, Sasha Lane
Appropriate Behaviour director Desiree Akhavan’s fantastic adaptation of Emily Danforth’s novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post premiered to immediate critical praise at Sundance 2018. It’s a really tremendous drama, deeply humane and very moving, that depicts the horrifying reality of conversion therapy. More colloquially known as ‘pray away the gay’, this type of ‘therapy’ has come to the fore during the Trump administration, having reportedly been supported in previous years by former Indiana Governor, now Vice President Mike Pence.
We open in 1993 with Cameron (an outstanding Chloë Grace Moretz), a teen in love with one of her female classmates. When the pair get caught in a moment of intimacy at a high-school dance, she’s quickly packed up and sent off to a teen gay conversion retreat. Falling in with the ‘bad kids’, Adam (Forrest Goodluck) and ‘Jane Fonda’ (American Honey‘s Sasha Lane), she attends sessions with Dr. Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and warm, guitar-playing Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) who once struggled with his own same-sex attraction. Despite the stated aims of the facility, Cameron finds camaraderie and solidarity with her friends, learning how to navigate – and survive – an intolerant world.
A kind of hybrid of an institutional drama and a summer camp film, it boasts an exquisite eye for detail. Full of humour, it nevertheless refuses to make anyone into a villain; Akhavan treating all of her characters with equal compassion, intelligence and insight. It feels important, a sad, gripping and tender film that will offer support and solace to gay teens for years to come.