“Cameron Post” shows horrors of outdated treatment for LGBTQ youth

Ty Davis

Despite a few fumbles, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” manages to keep itself stable enough to deliver an emotionally charged piece of lesbian, young-adult fiction. The film undoubtedly earns the rewards it has received.

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” breaks away from the LGBTQ cinema convention of telling stories about the experiences of gay men, exemplified in films such as Love, Simon, Call Me by Your Name, and A Single Man, by centering the story around a gay teenage girl.

Ad

Based on the novel of the same name, author Emily M. Danforth writes from her similar experiences growing up as a closeted lesbian in rural Montana. Based in the ’90s, the story follows the titular Cameron Post (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a conversion therapy camp called “God’s Promise,” after an incident reveals that she is gay.

From there, Cameron needs to deal with a borderline sociopathic therapist and an invasive reverend, making friends with other kids and dealing with a slew of conflicting emotions and ideas.

The film offers an underutilized perspective, similar to films like “The Perk of Being a Wallflower,” with it’s unabashed examination of teenage life. The story looks at the tribulations of being a teenage lesbian girl, a perspective that’s rarely covered in media, and as such examines the ways those experiences are unique.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is playing at The Lyric Cinema.

“Miseducation” utilizes a stark sense of awkwardness throughout the film from its characters, environments and situations. Not a single interaction can go by without making you wince in social discomfort. The other camp residents speak with rehearsed lines they force to put genuine effort in. Other residents act-out in spectacularly awkward ways that only teenagers in strange situations with no power can.

Therapist Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle,) the director of the camp, and the camp itself give off this eerie sense of uneasiness that only the aggressive American Christian wholesomeness can really give off, like someone on the razor’s edge of killing you, but managing to barely hold it back while keeping a smile the whole time.

The film does an amazing job of using Cameron’s journey through the camp to explore themes of self-hatred, manipulation, support systems, and the psychological toll of severe cognitive dissonance caused by these conversion camps.

More information on the the dangers of conversion therapy are available here

If the film has one major flaw it would be the ending. Cameron and other camp kids, Jane and Adam (Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck), devise a plan to resolve their situation, however, there is no internal or external conflict to impede them. They simply go through with the plan without any hesitation or resistance, making for an anti-climatic ending.

Should you watch it? Yes. 

Overall, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” delivers a hard-hitting, emotionally gripping story of some of the most abhorrent practices still going in our society and how it affects the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth at the most tumultuous time of their lives.

Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @tydavisACW.

Ad