Based on the coming of age novel by author Emily M. Danforth The Miseducation of Cameron Post directed by Desiree Akhavan is out this week.
Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, John Gallagher, Jr., Forrest Goodluck, Jennifer Ehle, and Quinn Shephard is an intimate and touching tale about sexuality in the 90’s and how for many people it was a stifling and suffocating period.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron (Moretz) a young teen who is figuring out what she wants out of life. Living in a highly Christian community means that she is deeply scrutinised for a lot of decisions that teenagers make during these years. This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that she is having a lesbian relationship with her best friend Coley (Shephard).
One night they are found out and so Cameron is shipped off to a gay conversion camp to try and “help” with her affliction, her sin. From there, audiences follow the story of a generation through the eyes of Cameron and her fellow disciples.
From the opening scene, the awkward and confining nature of the time is felt. The stifling pressure is palpable as you watch these teens struggle with their identities under this regime. The vernacular of the language at the time is also disturbing. A particular scene that involves a boat and an iceberg comes to mind that shows how little people understood back then.
Director Desiree Akhavan shoots the film in almost two separate styles. For example, she uses flashbacks to allow the film and Cameron to revisit a simpler and happier time. The use of warm colours allows the past to feel like a beautiful dream. While the colour and lighting of the present allow for a harsher reality which Cameron finds herself in. This compounds the saddening theme of The Miseducation of Cameron Post of a generation of children being punished by their parents for the sins of their parents.
Director Akhavan also builds a sorrowful and beautiful world filled with a darkness and soul-crushing nature due to some of its inhabitants. The worst part about this is that the individuals involved are doing what they believe is in the best interests of the teenagers. For example, the “villainous” force behind the film mask themselves behind a veneer of smiles and well wishes. They want to help the teenagers, they want to make them feel better but they are inadvertently crucifying these children. There is a particularly powerful scene with a character by the name of Mark (Owen Campbell) who gives a devastating performance and the symbology of the scene is astounding.
On the topic of the cast Chloë Grace Moretz and the rest of the cast give impressive performances. Their chemistry is genuine and heartfelt which raises the emotional stakes of the film. Moretz gives a soft-spoken and subtle portrayal of a young woman trying to find herself and trying to make sure that whatever decision that she makes is a decision she makes without outside intervention.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a wonderfully emotional film filled with deeply impactful performances and a touching story that still rings true today.