August 2, 2018

SCREEN | 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' Promises x VQFF 2018

"How the f*ck do you process..."
Chloë Grace Moretz Sasha Lane Forrest Goodluck Emily M. Danforth Desiree Akhavan | The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Set in the thick of the early 1990s, director Desiree Akhavan's film adaptation of Emily M. Danforth's popular coming-of-age young adult novel explores the repressive world of a gay conversion camp starring Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular troubled queer teen. The Miseducation of Cameron Post uses mood and setting to establish its story and themes of being an outcast deftly.

If anything, Moretz clear star quality and dashing screen presence distract from the intentionally subdued or everyday nature of the film's presence. She wisely embodies a laidback, indifferent demeanour to contextualize the emotional abuse around her.

Breakout star Sasha Lane continues a string of striking, charismatic work in diverse roles exploring sexual identity. Alongside Moretz and Lane, Forrest Goodluck offers a fine performance as another disaffected camp cohort rounding out the trio of rebellious gay troublemakers.

Chloë Grace Moretz Sasha Lane Forrest Goodluck Emily M. Danforth Desiree Akhavan | The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In contrast, a very soft-spoken John Gallagher Jr. as the gay turned straight reverend really layers the film's tragic but intriguing dynamics. He runs the camp with his diabolically frightening sister (Jennifer Ehle) further grounding the film's repressive setting of twisted values.

Cecilia Frugiuele and Akhavan's heartfelt script avoids extremes and strips down Danforth's novel to show how shame and denial are such powerfully destructive forces. How Akhavan dramatizes same-sex attraction is refreshingly unremarkable. The film uses desire as an extension of the characters' fear and repression within the toxic environment of judgment and indoctrination

Cameron Post takes an empathetic, sensitive approach to its queer storytelling using small character moments and intimate filmmaking to build its on-screen experiences of shame out of sexuality. How it dramatizes the low-key but devastating effects of gay conversion therapy, misguided religion, and same-sex attraction denial is ultimately a quietly moving expression of adolescent female desire.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post screens as part of the closing gala for the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival at the Vancouver Playhouse on August 19th.

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