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'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' is a lithe, but fulfilling, look at an odd episode

August 19, 2018

Montana, 1993. Several sexually confused teenagers have been shipped off to the mountains to be cured by a former “patient” and his sister.

Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular character in “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” (Photo courtesy of FilmRise)

In “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Cameron, a high school junior who seemingly has it all – boyfriend, good friends, star athlete. That “perfect life,” however, comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend finds her having sex with her friend, Coley (Quinn Shephard, in the backseat of his car during the homecoming dance.

 

Before you know it, Cameron's religious, overprotective aunt ships her off to God's Promise, a gay conversion center in the middle of nowhere.

 

While trying to get “fixed” and right with the lord, Cameron struggles to keep her desires and and “bad habits” (smoking weed and listening to pop music) in check. But she also bonds with her fellow pray-away-the-gay cohorts, particularly Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck).

 

As they struggle with their “treatment,” they slowly start to realize that it might just be more important for them to be happy with who they are as opposed to the world at large.

Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron, Forrest Goodluck as Adam Red Eagle, and Sasha Lane as Jane Fonda in “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” (Photo courtesy of FilmRise)

One of the things I most appreciated about this movie was that it didn't make the adults – namely Cameron's aunt, and those running God's Promise – look like evil monsters. It portrayed them, and rightfully so, as horribly wrong and misguided, but not actually malicious in their intent.

 

The other thing I really liked about this movie was the individual performance of Moretz. After showing early promise for her roles in “Kick-Ass,” “(500) Days of Summer,” and “Let Me In,” she seemingly stalled out with things like “Movie 43,” “Carrie,” and “Neighbors 2.” Here, she brought Cameron's confusion to life, and really stole the show when she was on screen. It was nice to see hear take on a meatier role and deliver a heartfelt and compelling performance.

Chloë Grace Moretz in “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” (Photo courtesy of FilmRise)

My biggest pet peeve is that at only 90 minutes long, and so many characters' stories getting screen time (there are several gleamed over in addition to the three main characters), everything feels a bit rushed – aside from Cameron's. You get a fair share of Jane's and Adam's stories, and hints as to the others, but not enough to really form any actual connection … something that would have given a fuller picture of the camp. A few more minutes could have accomplished that.

 

Having said that, I've never read Emily M. Danforth's novel the film is based on, so maybe everyone aside from Cameron and her main group really aren't focused on that much. Coversely, at only 90 minutes, Desiree Akhavan's (also the director) and Cecilia Frugiuele's screenplay breezes by without ever feeling stale.

 

★★★★ of ★★★★★

 

"The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is in select theaters now. Locally it is showing exclusively at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis.

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