The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Desiree Akhavan introduces a positive, tragic portrait of life within a Christian conversion treatment camp.

Nobody ever warns you just how much being a teenaged girl hurts. The glossy pages of amusing magazines describe how to browse examinations, style faux pas — even the experience of being coerced to smoking your cigarette or necking a can of cheap beer in a home party. However, what of those acute agony of attempting to exist in a world which denies the legitimacy of your lifestyle at every turn? How can you shield against that? How can you describe that the entire world will eat you alive given half a chance, and we all have as a defence would be the households we find for ourselves? There is no simple answer, but theatre seems like a constantly safe wager, effective at capturing the stress of adolescence at a more concrete way than any other medium.

In her 2015 debut feature, Appropriate Behaviour, writer/director Desiree Akhavan Allowing her personal experiences to make a bold, brash chronicle of contemporary womanhood at Brooklyn, New York. Her followup feels decidedly quieter — and not merely because it plays out from the comparative calm of rural Montana. According to the 2012 Young Adult novel of the exact same title by Emily M Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post tells of a 17-year-old woman who’s sent to some Christian conversion treatment camp after being caught in a compromising situation with another woman at the night of her institution’s Homecoming ball. Although the movie is set in 1993, the subject matter could not be more timely due to that the continuing struggle for LGBT rights occurring in the united states and elsewhere. Conversion therapy is not a brand new bogeyman — that this inhumane practice was used to subjugate young gay people for decades.

Chloe╠ł Grace Moretz is Cameron Post, a country track and field champion who’s delivered to’God’s Promise’ by her pious aunt (Kerry Butler). Still best known for her breakout role as the 13-year-old who stated”cunt” at Kick-Ass, there has always been a feeling with Moretz she simply needed the ideal function to genuinely shine. She’s found it Moretz provides a profoundly vulnerable but incredibly mature operation as a teenage girl struggling to come to terms with who she actually is. In 1 scene, Cameron comes undone as she awakens the hopelessness of her position, as soon as she starts to cry, her entire body starts to shake. Moretz captures what it is to be young and behave much old for the interest of self-preservation.

Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck are equally notable as Cameron’s fellow”disciples” Jane Fonda and Adam Red Eagle, who struggle with their particular conditions and attempt to make the most out of their dire situation. Humour has its own part to play also — Akhavan points outside that the ludicrousness of evangelical Christianity, but also touches on the minutiae of teenaged relationships. Yet a lot of Cameron’s friendship with Jane and Adam is developed on what is not said instead of what’s — on glances shared throughout the room. It is this quietness that permits the movie’s louder minutes to truly sing: if Cameron jumps on a table to buckle out 4 Non-Blondes’ seminal tune of pity’What’s Up?’ , it is a moment of real freedom that’ll make your heart soar. Temporary release by Means of Linda Perry.
Touches of’90s nostalgia raise a grin but not feel campy or over-the-top. Flannel shirts, a Clinton/Gore bumper decal, Cameron trying to swipe a Breeders tape — these particulars put the movie in a particular time, but they do not date it. Akhavan paints a vibrant portrait of life as a homosexual person at a post-Stonewall planet, prior to LGBT rights came to their own and the net provided discovered families for queer individuals everywhere.

In flashback we see glimpses of Cameron’s former lifestyle and her unlucky relationship with Coley (Quinn Shephard). There is a gorgeous tenderness to such scenes, also Akhavan plays memory by intercutting them from the current, revealing Cameron start to question her own knowledge in light of their Christian rhetoric she is subjected to. It is difficult to think of a different manager who’d have approached the material with such affection, candour and restraint. Ashley Connor’s cinematography adds to the movie’s dream-like aesthetic, giving the figures’ verdant surroundings a boundless caliber — an open, idyllic prison.
In God’s Promise, sibling group Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr) and also Dr Lydia (Jennifer Ehle) counselor their young wards. Rick, that admits he was able to fight with same-sex fascination, is the quintessential childhood pastor of pop culture folklore — floppy-haired and adorable as a labrador, constantly using a guitar in-hand prepared for a few ad hoc worshipping. He seems benign enough, the type of man with whom conversion decks prefer to associate their assignment. Lydia, in contrast, is calculating and stern,”a Disney villain that will not allow you to jerk off,” as Adam puts it.

But there is something more to Rick than meets the eye. The tragedy of his personality is how truly he thinks he’s doing the ideal thing, that spirituality is a easy control dilemma. The catastrophic nature of conversion treatment (“programming people to despise themselves”, as Cameron sets it) is unequivocal, but Akhavan succeeds in large part as a result of compassion she goes to each and every personality. This isn’t a movie that deals in binaries, but instead the gray area between.
While The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a significant LGBT film, in addition, it feels like a milestone addition to the coming-of-age canon. At one point Cameron, starting to wonder whether Lydia and Rick could have a stage, admits to Jane,”I am tired of feeling disgusted with myself” Jane bites back,”Perhaps you are supposed to feel disgusted once you’re a teen.” That is the deep cut in the core of Akhavan’s movie — being young and in pain should not necessarily be accepted as a member of growing up. Akhavan emphatically rejects this fallacy, rather showing that strength comes from recognizing that you are, and figuring out how to proceed from that point.