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The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Year: 2018
Production Co: Beachside Films
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Writer: Desiree Akhavan/Cecilia Frugiuele
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr, Jennifer Ehle

Schoolgirl Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) harbours feelings for her best female friend that they keep under wraps, but when they end up having sex in her car after prom and are discovered by the boy Cameron actually went with, their secret is out.

Cameron's evangelical Aunt sends her to a place called God's Promise, a gay conversion camp where she's told counselling, prayer and clean living will cure her burgeoning homosexuality. It's run by Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr), a guy who looks every inch a Christian paedophile in the early 90s, and his sister, Dr Marsh (Jennifer Ehle), the soft-spoken but fearsome camp director.

The story of Cameron getting to know her fellow attendees and the history that put her there is told in slowly wafting tones of colour and flashbacks, but about half an hour in I was surprised at how readily she was prepared to accept that there was actually something wrong with her and throw herself into the process of fixing it.

I suppose, like all right minded people, I wanted her to be secure and defiant in who she was, secretly plotting some nasty revenge and escape the entire time. It seems she has her chance when she befriends Jane (Sasha Lane, who'd go on to that unwatchable Shia LeBeouf drama American Honey) and Native American Adam (Forrest Goodluck), the true rebels in the camp as they go off on hikes to smoke dope and talk gossip and slowly accept Cameron as one of them.

But the entire time she never seems to know which way to turn and which to accept as the truth – her friendship with misfits who let her accept the way she is or the quiet but unyielding hand of Dr Marsh and God behind her telling her everything about her is wrong.

In the end though it's all a bit redundant. I won't say what happens in the end but it could have come anywhere in the narrative – the day after she arrived, in fact.

The movie came in the midst of a rash of pro-LGBTQ movies of gay teenagers emotionally brutalised by church powers, and I'm sure no matter how earnest the performances, some of those had stronger narratives than this one.

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