The miseducation of cameron post

In Desiree Akhavan’s affecting drama, Chloë Grace Moretz plays an orphaned teenager packed off to a creepy camp for her sexuality khổng lồ be ‘corrected’


The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a sad, sweet, funny coming-of-age movie where nobody comes of age. They have all pretty much come of age before the film starts: then sent to a Christian teen camp khổng lồ be told they have come of age incorrectly – homosexually, in fact – so they must be forcibly regressed via prayer và workshops lớn a pre-age-coming state in preparation for a new coming of age in the accepted Christian heterosexual sense. However, given that even straight sex before marriage is frowned on, the new approved flowering may still be a way off.

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This is our heroine’s bizarre “miseducation”, và it cleverly works against the genre’s traditional narrative trajectory, in which quirky yet attractive lovelorn teenagers learn bittersweet lessons on the way to lớn sexual maturity, chiefly that friendship and family are as important as romance. Và maybe that is indeed the lesson that Cameron Post learns, the unofficial education running alongside her miseducation. But it is intriguingly unclear.

Chloë Grace Moretz stars, and her understated performance is intelligently & sympathetically directed by the Iranian-American film-maker Desiree Akhavan, who made her feature debut with the năm trước indie comedy Appropriate Behaviour. With Cecilia Fruguiele, she has adapted the 2012 YA novel by Emily M Danforth, based on the case of the American teenager Zach Stark, whose anguished blog in 2005 from a Christian gay conversion camp became a national sensation. He used the mạng internet to bring in the outside world’s secular judgment. This story banishes cellphones và the web by being mix in 1993.

Cameron (Moretz) is an orphaned teenager being raised by a pious aunt and uncle in the midwest. She has become very close to lớn her best friend Coley (Quinn Shephard) in Bible studies class. On prom night, her date is horrified at the over of the evening lớn discover the two girls kissing, more than kissing, in his car. Cameron – lonely, confused, unable khổng lồ decide whether to lớn be defiant or contrite – is packed off lớn a creepy camp called God’s Promise, finding there other teens who seem lớn be in various states of learned wholesomeness & perkiness.

Rick (John Gallagher Jr) is their adult counsellor, a former gay guy, supposedly “in recovery” but with a slightly giveaway moustache. In the Nurse Ratched role is the sinister camp director Dr Lydia Marsh, excellently performed by Jennifer Ehle. & just as in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the nightmare is that there is no set jail term that you can wait out. They can keep you in as long as you are deemed lớn be in danger of gayness.

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Akhavan shows how the bizarre thing is that this intensive training, this laser focus on aberrant sexual activity, effectively makes you much more aware of it, much more oppressively preoccupied with sex và self-hate than you would be living a normal non-jailbird life outside the camp. Each person is given a cartoon of an iceberg, representing their minds, showing their apparent personalities above the surface but the secret problems & missteps that caused their gayness are below, & they are told lớn write in on the “hidden” iceberg outline what they think these issues are. It is an oppressive, alarmist conceit that encourages the teenagers lớn think of their identities as covert & shameful.

But it is also a device for self-examination of a sort. This camp is, accidentally, creating the conditions for self-awareness, which smart teenagers can use for other unlicensed purposes. Her new cool-kid friends Jane (Sacha Lane) và Adam (Forest Goodluck) seem to lớn have managed the problem by telling Dr Marsh what she wants lớn hear while preserving an inner bộ vi xử lý core of scepticism.

Cameron makes interesting discoveries about Coley & also about poor, troubled Rick, who says that he was brought to lớn Jesus when two other Christian guys, whom he knew vaguely, chanced on him in a gay bar – and who then claimed khổng lồ have recognised his car outside và come in there with the purpose of rescuing him. That is what he tells himself and everyone else.

The film is, in its way, a hideous ordeal. Khổng lồ be patronised, humiliated và bullied about something so intimate, và at such a vulnerable time of your life, is almost unthinkable. Watching this, you find yourself thinking: how would I style it out? With blank, unreadable irony? By pretending to go along with it all? But isn’t there a chance that you would end up being brainwashed – that the groupthink ethic is too strong? Even when the camp term is up, the world itself may just offer a diluted version of the same conformist ideology. The film concludes in a minor key. Always smart, amusing và engaging.