The Miseducation of Cameron Post: a movie review by Elana Bowman

August 31, 2018 by Elana Bowman
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Being sent away for being gay? The terrible tragedy is that Cameron does not come out, she is found out at her prom no less by her prom date, and she is sent away post-haste by her very misguided guardians.God’s Promise is not an institution per se. This is not a cruel teen movie. This movie tries to portray empathy and compassion by Ms. Danforth and Ms. Akhavan who are there to ‘help’ teens convert through loving kindness and attempting to understand them.

They attempt this by offering love and trying to emphasise that homosexuality does not exist. The emphasis is on being gay is not ‘natural’ and this is reiterated time and time again by a very oppressed Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) who has experienced “SSA” (“same-sex attraction”) and has had to deal with his own homosexuality and conversion process.

Rick is characterised as the example all the teens should become. He is clearly quite oppressed and is married – wonderful right?!

So this process itself which ‘worked’ so well on Reverend Rick is used for every teen who comes involuntarily through their doors. The therapy sessions are systematically almost pre-programmed and are run by his sister Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and it’s quite sad really, she helped ‘cure’ her brother so every teen is up for grabs.

Erin, Cameron’s roommate seems all ready to accept the entire promise being proffered to her during the sessions; so Cameron graduates towards Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck). The three of them with a lot of humour sneak off to hike, mess about, and smoke pot in the woods. They pretend that their conversion is actually working. There are some very humorous scenes here especially during therapy sessions like the iceberg diagram and discussion.

Yet the whole movie feels like a very odd summer camp. While the teens have random bed checks, group discussions and one-on-one sessions, they are also able to go wherever they want, whenever they want. Throughout this all, Cameron is strongly of the belief that her feelings are natural. She is quiet, sceptical, and so sure of herself. She is initially misunderstood. But she finds her tribe; there is such a need to emphasise this.

Predictably there is tragedy in this film; and some of the kids do gain an understanding of themselves and each other. God’s Promise is all through prayer and therapy; with a systematic conversation. It’s emotional abuse, it’s very very subtle but it is clear. Yet despite all this emotional abuse, Cameron knows she’s just a perfectly normal teenager responding to her natural feelings. And this awareness acts like a cape around Cameron and it is a very very powerful message for today’s teens.

If anything go see this with your parents or with your children (or grandchildren) as the movie has vital relevant topics to debate. Films like this are important because children and adults are still facing intolerance and abuse against who they choose to love; love is love.

This film is based on the novel by Emily Danforth and will appeal to a wide and diverse audience.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post was a surprise Grand Jury Prizewinner at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.




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