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Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post captures the fugue state that is adolescence

Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane and Chloë Grace Moretz star in The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Jeong Park/Films We Like

  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post
  • Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
  • Written by: Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele
  • Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz and Sasha Lane
  • Classification: N/A; 91 minutes

rating

“God doesn’t make mistakes. What’s wrong with you is your fault, and it’s yours to fix.” That’s what the counsellors at the God’s Promise conversion camp tell their reluctant residents, gay teenagers whose families want them “cured.” (The year is 1993, but it could easily be 2018.) Some of the teens buy in; others, including Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her fellow rebels, Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck), resist. But “programming people to hate themselves,” as Cameron puts it, takes its toll.

Writers Cecilia Frugiuele (who also produced) and Desiree Akhavan (who also directed), working from Emily Danforth’s source novel, capture the fugue state that is teenagehood, then refract it through the extra-weirdness of the camp. Moretz’s Cameron is appropriately dozy: She’s stunned to find herself here and is wounded by the adults’ disgust – “If your parents were still alive, do you think they’d be proud of you?” sing-songs the camp’s head doctor (Jennifer Ehle, cruelly calm). But she also knows (and shows us) that every fibre of her being was lit up by her girlfriend, Coley (Quinn Shephard), so how can that be wrong?

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Akhavan keeps the camera locked on Moretz’s face; every time you think she can’t possibly go closer, she does. But it’s the definition of a female gaze. We don’t regard Cameron, we feel what she’s feeling, especially during the sex scenes. Akhavan also shamelessly steals a crucial shot from The Graduate; to say that she earns it is a testament to her film.

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