The Miseducation of Cameron Post is an important film in many ways. It’s a brilliant LGBTQ story based on a fantastic YA coming-of-age novel; it deals with issues like conversion therapy in a way that’s both light-hearted and hard-hitting; and the film had an all-female crew. I feel as though that’s enough reasons to go and see it immediately – make noise about it, invite your friends along and allow it to make the impact that it should be making in our community.
The film is an immersive and emotional experience, with poignant storytelling that draws you in from the moment the film begins. It’s always empowering to feel represented through art – but to feel represented in a film that’s so beautiful and well-crafted is extra special.
Set in 1993, The Miseducation of Cameron post is the story of a teenager, who is forced into a gay conversion therapy centre by her conservative guardians. It’s a heavy topic, and one that’s handled with the upmost care throughout the film, which plays out the story with a fantastic blend of comedy and drama.
By intercutting between Cameron’s life in the conversion therapy centre and her life beforehand, the audience is taken on an intimate journey of her experience. It’s this intimacy that makes the film so emotional. As Cameron reacts to the world around her, the audience is able to empathise with her – and it’s the subtlety of her expressions, her dead pan humour and fantastic acting from Chloë Grace Moretz that brings the story and character to life. The audience is able to see the misgivings of the other characters, and the absurdity of conversion therapy.
Alongside this, a fantastic ensemble cast brings the conversion therapy centre to life, playing a mixture of teenagers who are each facing their own challenges – their stories told in a humorous way through their conversion therapy ‘icebergs’ and a snippet of each of their backgrounds that have lead them in to the situation. The film’s adults are layered and complex – there’s no clear cut ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – instead you feel sympathy for how misguided they are. They genuinely believe conversion therapy will help the teenagers, and their loss of control reduces them to figures that it’s easy to feel sorry for.
Although humorous, The Miseducation of Cameron Post has a dark underbelly. There’s a sense of otherness – whether through the conversion camp or through the coming-of-age story throughout. It’s one that an audience can relate to – being of an age where you’re no longer sure who you are and how you fit into your own life. The subject matter is something that is disturbing, particularly through its absurdity. It’s easy to forget that there are people who are forced into conversion therapy, and the reality of the situation is something that’s extremely difficult to deal with. For someone to have to deny who they are can cause them so much strife – and I just hope that seeing this film will help in some way.
The film is shot thoughtfully, with close-ups of hands fumbling, of individual reactions instead of wide-shots. The camera is brave and lingers on faces until the audience feels uncomfortable – giving an opportunity for reading feelings and emotions. The world of the film is so immersive that you can’t help but feel drawn in.
It’s so vitally important that these stories are told, and that the LGBTQ community have a voice in film and share experiences. Whenever I see films like this I think about how I would have felt watching it ten years ago – it literally would have helped to shape and define my life. It’s so exciting that this film exists – and please take the chance to see it while you can.
© Megan Holland 2018
On in cinemas now.