Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Running Time: 93 mins
The Miseducation Of Cameron Post is an American film about a teenage girl who is sent to a Christian camp to rid her of her homosexuality, as she discovers more about herself and learns that those who claim authority and wisdom are not always in the right.
An eye-opening and often even devastating insight into anti-homosexual ‘re-education’ camps, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post is a sobering account of injustice and almost cult-like mania in our times. Featuring an engrossing lead turn from Chloe Grace Moretz, the film proves an entirely captivating watch throughout, providing an insightful, intelligent and most of all passionate appeal for sense.
Set in the mid-1990s, the film may not be directly representative of the current situation surrounding oppression of homosexuality and non-binary sexual identity, but the themes it tackles and the setting in which it takes place are wholly relevant to today. In that, the film offers a genuinely hard-hitting look at its main issues from beginning to end.
From a contemporary perspective, the oppression of sexual orientation and gender is undeniably awful, and the film gives a passionate and sobering account of that in motion, but what really makes The Miseducation Of Cameron Post a particularly impactful watch is its presentation of the power of a false authority over potentially vulnerable and impressionable youth.
The story takes place in a small Christian camp in a rural community, comprising a handful of ‘disciples’ all undergoing the process to get rid of their homosexuality, and two teachers messing trying to guide them. While some of the teenagers do engage with the teachings and process, others – including Cameron – do not, and find themselves in a difficult clash with their teachers.
That’s where the film’s most fascinating aspect comes in, as it considers the danger of teachers who, with seemingly logical and rational ideas to an average young person, are able to manipulate an individual’s perspective and crush their spirit. It might not seem like much on the inside, and the film doesn’t show much in the way of aggressive anti-homosexual behaviour, but the way in which we see the teachers get to some of the pupils, and come so very close to crushing even the strongest-willed, is rather disturbing to say the least.
The film’s setting is reminiscent of a Spanish film called Holy Camp, which also looks at young people undergoing so-called ‘re-education’. However, where Holy Camp offers an impressively cathartic and ultimately inspiring view of the fightback against this phenomenon, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post shows the awful realities of when people come close to being crushed, or even don’t come back from it.
As a result, more so than a sobering look at a terrible truth that persists to this day, the film is a decidedly unsettling one, bringing about dark, disturbing drama of just how easy it can be to manipulate, convince and brainwash someone into believing they are something far from what they really feel.
In the lead role, Chloe Grace Moretz gives a fantastic turn that helps to hammer home the core ideas and unsettling, almost devastating atmosphere. She’s strong-willed and passionate enough on screen to make her resistance to re-education entirely convincing, but brings an innocence and soft quality to her character that makes the peril of her possibly falling to the manipulation even more real, and even more saddening.
Thanks to that, the film sits on an engrossing knife edge throughout, and although I wouldn’t say it develops exhilarating tension or truly devastating drama to a great extent, you really fear for the welfare of Cameron and pray that she doesn’t fall victim to her so-called teachers’ messages.
Overall, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post is a strongly engrossing drama. It’s a fascinating watch that gets you entirely on side with its subject, opens your eyes to a reality that you would surely think belongs back in the Middle Ages, and gives a passionate and sobering account of homosexual oppression. Couple that with a fantastic lead performance from Chloe Grace Moretz, and a powerfully unsettling, disturbing atmosphere, and you have a film that’ll keep you enthralled and consistently shocked throughout, so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.