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Review – The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Being slightly different from everyone else is hard enough. Being ridiculed, stared at in public, exiled by family or even worse harassed for being who you are is something most people will never have to experience. Same sex attraction falls into that category of being different. There are some people and even families that still believing same sex attraction is something that can be cured. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a horrible, but eye-opening look at a world still coming to terms with something and someone different.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is based on the book written by Emily M. Danforth. Set in the early 90s where same sex relationships weren’t talked about let alone acted on in public, bible group attendee Cameron Post has fallen for a group member and best friend, Coley. The two are eventually caught on prom night pleasuring each other on the back seat of the car of Cameron’s boyfriend, where he caught them.

As punishment and to prevent any future issues, Cameron is sent to conversion camp by her Aunt who she lives with as her parents are dead. While Cameron does her best at first to follow the rules and try to make it work, she quickly realises that this program will never work for her.

Befriending two others who aren’t going to convert either, Cameron soon realises the people running the camp have no idea what they are doing. So much so the camp eventually forces a questioning teenager to self-harm.

The 90s was a time when education on same sex was full of horror and fright. Sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise and sexual exploration, such as same sex relationships and sexual partners weren’t talked about. The stigma around such things was slowly being broken down as the community fought for their rights.

It’s hard to believe but there is still conversion therapy being practiced around the world, even in Australia. And even though The Miseducation of Cameron Post was set in the 90s it’s still very much a heated topic today. The film offered a glance into a world full of hatred for minorities too young to be able to defend themselves because their parents and guardians don’t understand and forget these individuals, their children are who they are.

Tackling the horror and confusion of Cameron Post is actress Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Neighbours 2, The 5th Wave). Moretz’s performance is raw and real and completely pulls you in. With such a complex character, being able to bring it from the pages of a novel to life requires a great deal of depth and understanding of which Moretz captured.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post comes from Director Desiree Akhavan who also wrote the screenplay. Akhavan is more known for her work as an actress playing Chandra in the series Girls. She gives the story this dominant female presence which carries all the way through giving the final scene even more power.

This film is by no means a master piece, nor is it a blockbuster. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about connections to these real people whose families gave up on them being who they really are. This is one of the few films where anything other than the performances would take away from the true story being told. The well rounded characters and a deep and clear understanding of the content makes it hard to watch for some and eye opening for others. This is more often than not seen in adaptations of books based around actual events.

Overall, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is beautiful and heart-warming as it is horrible and frightening. Frightening in that this conversion therapy was happening in 90s and still a heated topic today. Montez managed to capture the ultimately confusing and troubling time in someone’s life, not only realising your gay but also dealing with the consequences. It’s powerful in that it doesn’t force its ideals and stance more opens your eyes to what the world can really be like.

Review by Jay Cook

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