Adolescence is when kids mature into adulthood and, in the process, explicate and start to become comfortable with their sexuality. It’s also a time of great vulnerability, especially for those who discover they aren’t heterosexual. Will their family and friends still accept them, or will their peers ridicule or disown them under the perception there’s something wrong with them? That misguided perception inspired the creation of conversion therapy, a practice meant to “fix” people into heterosexuality.


And that’s all at the core of last year’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a drama based on the identically named 2012 novel. The film was directed by Desiree Akhavan, who also wrote it alongside Cecilia Frugiuele. Set during 1993, Chloë Grace Moretz portrays Cameron Post, a high school student who feigns a relationship with her boyfriend while hiding a tryst with her female friend Coley (Quinn Shephard). Cameron’s affair is discovered during her class’s homecoming dance, spurring her evangelical aunt to send her to God’s Promise, a boarding school and gay conversion therapy camp.

We’re quickly introduced to the cast, including Cameron’s fellow “disciples” and the two most prominent members of the camp’s staff, Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) and the stringent Dr. Lydia March (Jennifer Ehle). Both believe the children in their charge are sick and champion Rick, who flirted with homosexuality in his youth, as proof that said sickness can be cured through their teachings. While Cameron rooms with one of the camp’s most devout believers (Emily Skeggs), she’s withdrawn and only bonds with skeptics Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck). The actors did an excellent job portraying their characters’ nuances, but Moretz shines with a sincere, timorous performance — Cameron is insecure, consequently and believably lacking self-confidence for much of her stay at God’s Promise.

Miseducation primarily concerns itself with surveying how the “disciples” handle the oppressive environment they’re trapped in. It never sanitizes its observations either, delivering a raw, timely message of the emotional struggles these maltreated teenagers endure. Most of the students adhere to the camp’s programing, building up to a heartbreaking climax that highlights their mental deterioration and a bittersweet ending powered by self-preservation.


The Miseducation of Cameron Post has little to offer in terms of special features, save for a requisite commentary track. All the disc bears otherwise is a photo gallery and a few trailers, a major disappointment given the nature of the movie. Considering Miseducation’s weighty subject matter and the process behind filming it, there’s plenty of material that would be ripe for further exposition and exploration.


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