Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for September 9th, 2018

The Miseducution of Cameron Post *****

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 9th September, 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post largeWhen high school student Cameron Post is caught making out with another girl in the back seat of a car by her boyfriend, she is sent off to an evangelical Christian camp in up-state New York to be “cured” of Same Sex Attraction (SSA). The year is 1993, and there is a motley crew of both girls and boys who have been tempted by Satan to love their own kind. The institution — very much like an upmarket summer camp, with extensive sports facilities — is run by a glacially-smiling Doctor Lydia Marsh (chillingly played by Jennifer Ehle) with the help of her gentle, guitar-playing, moustached brother, who has himself been “saved” from being gay. The institution uses none of the nasty gay aversion therapy such as electric shocks, which were still an option at the time, but there is nonetheless an undertone of menace as the inmates — all in neat blue uniforms — are shamed into hating their sexuality and cajoled into loving God and letting him help them become “normal”. Cameron soon discovers that the best way to survive in such an environment is just to play along, but she is saved from going crazy by bonding with a small but diverse group of others who rebel against the system. This all might sound rather heavy, and there are a few shocks along the way, but the film also has brilliant flashes of humour, some resulting from the absurdity of the saccharine environment and the religious language used by the conversion therapists. But director Desirée Askhavan avoids turning the story into a farce by spectacular pacing, long drawn-out shots and challenging camera angles, really building up the dramatic tension. The main focus throughout is Cameron Post, so sensitively played by Chloe Grace Moretz that one can almost read her thoughts from her facial expressions. It is a stunning performance that makes this film one of the most important of this year. The subject matter, too, given the way it is handled, awards it added significance. How much the movie-loving Cameron Post would have benefited if there had been such a film as this around 25 years ago!

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