The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Another of the main themes running through Sundance London this year is young queer cinema. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is pitch-perfect on the issue. A wry sideways glance at the hypocrisy of so-called gay conversion therapy, it is a tender coming-of-age movie about friendship and identity. When Cameron Post (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds herself in a compromising (read: pants down) position with another girl in the back of her boyfriend’s car, she knows she’s in trouble. Sent to be “de-gayed” at a boarding school, the protagonist is bombarded by the happy-clappy pseudo-science of her teachers. The girl finds refuge among a group of like-minded teens who help her cut through the jargon.
Moretz is sympathetic and dry-humoured. Her rolled eyes and quick wits come across well, and help release the tension of the claustrophobic mindsets of those around her. Between the pathologisation of their sexuality and saccharine cult-like smiles at school, characterful and well-rounded supporting performances by Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck make for laugh out loud moments within the deeply troubling setting. As a troop, they hammer home the fact that the children virtually imprisoned at these institutions are the sane ones – their parents are the ones with the issues.
Desiree Akhavan brings together this ensemble very simply, with a light and deft touch to her directing. In the Clinton/Gore years (more of the Sundance 90s vibe) she paints an America at odds with herself, and nods to the far-from-perfect conditions for young queer people in the US today. But we have come a long way. The Miseducation of Cameron Post pokes fun at the absurdity of intolerance, and justly points fingers at a terrible practice. En route, it is a sweet and succinct film put together with great humour and compassion.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is released nationwide on 31st August 2018.