This heartbreaking story of conversion camps in the early 1990’s in a testament to how far we have come on LGBTQ+ rights, but also highlights the subtle work ahead.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows our title character — caught canoodling with a female classmate — who is sent to a bible camp to have the queerness suppressed.
There, she’s stuck between keeping her independence and free thought, and wondering whether her whole life will be a lot easier if she gives in to the will of her family, staff and the doctor who presides over the camp.
It’s a film about a time in gay history where many would rather try to ‘fix’ their homosexuality than live openly, for fear of a tougher teenage life.
At one point, Cameron’s aunt asks, “don’t you want a family, Cameron?”, and I was reminded for a moment of a time where conventional ideals of the heteronormative family were just expected.
The performances are incredible. and Chloe Grace-Moretz shines as Cameron Post, both a queer rebel and a scared girl wishing for her best life.
Key supporting performances from American Honey’s Sasha Lane and First Nations actor Forrest Goodluck provide some great levity from the film’s difficult themes.
In particular, John Gallagher Jr. is fantastic as a youth pastor who counts himself “changed” by the word of God after younger years struggling with his homosexuality.
The film is a difficult watch, as we see the inner struggles of young men and women who are quite clearly unique, but want to just be like everyone else. The dangers of making youth hate themselves or their sexuality is on full display.
Given recent events like the cancelled Pugwash event, which was to feature two speakers known for promoting conversion therapy, we’re reminded the days in this film aren’t quite behind us yet.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which won Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is an acting showcase focused on difficult themes, and covers them with an unflinching view.