Please imagine that every phrase here will implicitly start with “I think that…” so I don’t have to type it before every single statement. Sexual preference is diverse by nature, hence the word preference. Sex is not exclusively for reproduction purposes. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about sex, nor there is anything psychologically damaging about having sexual thoughts or not having them at all. Consent is key, peer pressure is not and society is often in need of re-education.
Director Desiree Akhavan brings us a movie with believable characters and a believable story with The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The title character, Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz), is found having sex (note: I initially wrote “making out” then thought better of it) with a girl in the limo that she drove to the prom in by her date. She is then sent by her aunt to a religious gay conversion camp called “God’s Promise” where she and other people discovering her sexuality have been sent to
be reprogrammed see the error of their ways.
Put your fears aside, it’s not a preachy movie. A preachy movie is when the message is more important than the film and hence we don’t get characters, just plain caricatures with barely a semblance of a plot with the whole thing feeling like propaganda. I don’t watch those because they are not entertaining even when I agree with the message. This is a movie where every character has a real story. Even Reverend Rick (John Gallagher, Jr.) who starts as a caricature, has a sad soul and a back story to match.
If the movie has a weak point, it’s the fact that not all characters get an in-depth look. If it has a strength is that it makes these characters real and compelling. Mark (Owen Campbell in an amazing portrayal) goes through a very subtle story arc to a disturbing finale and we want to know a lot more about his story. Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) plays a very straight cut strict disciplinarian and we never crack the surface to see the real person underneath. Cameron’s roommate, Erin (Emily Skeggs), also has a breakout moment of reveal after seeming incorruptible but we don’t hear much of her afterwards. It feels like the movie should’ve been a bit longer to find out more about these people that we all care much about.
We do get to see in flashback the secret relationship of Cameron with Coley (Quinn Shepard) which seemed like it was growing up to be more but ends up being cut short. Cameron’s partners in crime, Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) get just about an introduction. Outside of a light arc where Dr. Marsh has issues with Adam we don’t see them except next to Cameron later on. Helen (Melanie Ehrlich) plays a breakout role where lazier writers would’ve just poke fun at her weight but her story is way too short. Cameron herself tries to keep her distance but it’s a credit to Moretz that we can see the cracks under the façade until she herself reaches a breaking point.
Highly recommended as a drama with some comedic touches (a dramedy I guess) and real tridimensional characters. We care about these people, which is sometimes a bit of a tease since the ending is a little bit aloof. I feel I could’ve watched an entire TV show if each story was allowed to run its course. It’s an entertaining portrayal of people trying to live through a process that wants to indoctrinate them back into a society as what society expects of them. Cameron’s line about how being taught to hate yourself cannot be anything but emotional abuse is the only line in the movie where you can consider yourself being preached to, but you can’t help but find it true.
That will do for now.