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The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Movie Review

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Movie Review

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy filmswelike

Gender identity is a topic that has become more widely discussed today and it’s a subject worth talking about. The Miseducation of Cameron Post takes us back to a time when this was rarely, if ever, explored in media. Director/co-writer Desiree Akhavan, in adapting Emily M. Danforth’s book, has put together a film that tackles these issues with an honesty and told through the eyes of teenagers. The best scenes in this film are when these young people are having conversations about their sexuality and preferences. This is an understanding film directed with the necessary amount of subtlety and featuring strong performances from its cast.

While Cameron Post is set in 1993, the film doesn’t call immediate attention to the time period. Aside from occasional appearances of cassettes and VHS’s, there is a timeless quality to the picture. Even the absence of cellular telephones isn’t felt as their appearance wouldn’t have much effect on the story, anyway. Most of the film consists of getting to know the teenagers, mainly the titular Cameron Post. Chloe Grace Moretz portrays a young girl trying to navigate her identity at a time and place where it’s not accepted. Moretz perfectly depicts the anxiety and uncertainty as she deals with these adults and their prejudices.

The chemistry between the teenagers in the conversion camp is beautifully portrayed, with each having their own troubles and meaningful relationships. Cameron’s roommate Erin is nicely portrayed by Emily Skeggs, as she attempts to deal with her gender identity and the most powerful scene in the film is with her and Moretz. There’s a different friendship established with Sasha Lane’s Jane, representing more Cameron’s want to rebel against a system that oppresses her desires. One of the more interesting and fleshed out characters is the reverend struggling with his own sexual orientation. John Callaghan, Jr. gives a quiet and understated performance and we see a different sort of respect Cameron shows towards him over the more rough head of the camp.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post manages to use flashbacks to go into the backstory of the participants, creating a further understanding of how they ended up at the conversion camp. The film will also occasionally cut back to Cameron’s own romantic relationship with a girlfriend to further develop the character. The movie tastefully handles topics of gender identity, gender fluidity and sexual orientation in a way that will find a number of viewers who will relate to the central characters. It’s an important film that works due to its lack of showiness, while also showing the dangers of these conversion camps.

Desiree Akhavan succeeds at showing the empathy teenagers can have and how important friendships are in overcoming the obstacles given to them by adults. These feel like real people and the movie is at its best when showing these teenagers conversing with one another. There is a honesty in Chloe Grace Moretz’s performance that also rubs off on the other actors and is further proof of her being one of the best young actors working today. Where Akhavan propels the story is well deserved, because of this journey taken by these youngsters. Even when tackling the prejudices forced upon teenagers trying to grow up in a difficult world, there is almost an optimism to this film that’s admirable.


Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison