The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Film Review
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Writers: Desiree Akhavan (screenplay), Cecilia Frugiuele (screenplay)
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Steven Hauck, Quinn Shephard
It’s Prom night and Cameron is in the back of a car making out. This is as American as apple pie, but the only problem is that she’s not kissing her date! She is with another young woman and things are getting quite heated. Her boyfriend for the evening surprises the two of them when he swings open the car door and with that her secret it out. Her family are shocked by the news of her homosexuality. Instead of dealing with it in a normal fashion they decide to send her to ‘God’s Promise’, a boarding school that can ‘cure’ her of this disease. And so we meet Cameron settling into her new way of life.
This is a fantastic idea for a film, as the topic of schools/ clinics that ‘cure’ people of their homosexuality is endlessly fascinating. As one of the counsellors says in the clinic, would you let a drug user have a parade to celebrate their addiction? They see SSA (Same Sex Attraction) as the same as any illness. It can be treated and cured, if the person wants to be cured, that is. Cameron is not convinced!
The film centres on the young inhabitants of the school and we get to meet a variety of young men and women all suffering from similar complaints. There are also drug users in the clinic, but most suffer from SSA. The film focuses on the problems of the young people, with some trying to be devout and follow the path of the lord, whereas others are just enduring it until they can leave!
The film is based on the teen coming of age novel written by Emily M. Danforth which was published in 2012. The director of the film is Desiree Akhavan, who has mainly worked as an actress to date. This is her second full-length film as a director, after Appropriate behaviour in 2014. This is her break through film and has done well at various film festivals, winning the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
The cast is made up of young actors but there are unlikely to be any breakthrough stars amongst them. Whi;e they are believable in their parts, no one particularly stands out . There are some great older characters though, such as Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle), the headmistress, and her brother Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.), who has been cured of his homosexuality! While the film has its moments, there’s a sense that they don’t do enough with the subject matter, that there’s still a better film waiting to be made on this topic. Regardless of this, the film does provide an insight into this frankly insane world of curing people of their sexuality.