To commend The Miseducation of Cameron Post in a single sentence, its courage in being what it is and its ability to defy cinematic expectations is remarkable. It takes an unexpected direction with its subject matter, but that’s anything but a criticism.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the story of a girl who is caught in a compromising situation with her best friend, who is also female. She is then sent to a camp to “pray the gay away” and be “cured” of what several characters in the film insist is a psychological error in her brain that she can cure by thinking differently.
Chloe Grace Moretz is impressive. She successfully portrays a character that not only questions the insanity and surrealism of the people at this camp, but also serves as an eye for the audience to observe an environment that’s scarily ordinary.
The supporting cast should all be commended, too, with John Gallagher Jr portraying the main caretaker of the campers who has also, tragically, been subjected to the very same conversion therapy. Jennifer Ehle does a fantastic job at playing the film’s “antagonist”. It’s difficult to identify her as such when the film somehow avoids any direct conflict, but you will still hate her guts.
Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck are also superb as Cameron’s companions, providing interesting and differing perspectives to the events that unfold at the camp, while also standing as beacons of hope in a place so dire and tragic.
The events that unfold in the camp contrast superbly with the idyllic setting. These teenagers are struggling to figure out who they are being conditioned to be, and how they are being conditioned to think. But the backdrop of pretty woodlands makes you wonder whether this film is your typical coming-of-age teen movie.
That’s what makes Miseducation so fantastic. It contrasts with ordinary teen films, where teenagers do teenager-y things, by presenting these horrifying procedures that make the audience uneasy. But, expertly, it avoids being melodramatic or outright nonsensical with what it portrays.
Themes of identity and change encompass what this film is aiming to highlight, but it’s understandable to expect a film like The Miseducation of Cameron Post to be a miserable, sombre and tragic watch. However, the direction is reminiscent of a coming-of-age movie – just focused on coming-of-age issues that aren’t usually seen. Issues which some people still see as sin, mistake, error, and misguidance.
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