CW: Gay Conversion Therapy
Adapted from a novel – which was itself adapted from a series of true events – The Miseducation of Cameron Post revolves around high schooler Cameron Post, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, being sent to a conversion therapy camp in the 1990’s after being caught making out with prom queen and close friend Coley Taylor in the backseat of a car after they had snuck off during a school prom.
Post’s reaction to being sent off to the camp is a single exasperated “fuck…” as her aunt drives off. She spends the rest of the film playing along while also silently defying the camp’s instructors, which is run by an “ex-gay”, and his sister who had apparently played a significant part in “de-gaying” him. The camp portrayed in the film is at odds to what one would ordinarily consider to be a conversion camp – oddly peaceful, without the use of any electric shocks or nausea inducing techniques that you would usually expect.
As it leads up to its climax, we find that the camp’s instructors themselves do not actually know or understand what they are doing; believing that they are pleasing God through their treatment centre’s methods of emotional abuse, teaching kids to hate themselves, while likening homosexuality to cannibalism. This results in some scarring consequences.
The film runs at a steady pace, sprinkled with tender and amusing moments throughout, however it runs into the clichés that many young adult films do, and comes across as slightly too passive, lightly treading on places where they could’ve been capitalised on more effectively.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post comes at an extremely important moment in time in New Zealand. “Conversion therapy” is still legal in this country, and has been making national headlines recently.
Hopefully the film will help ignite discussion of this controversial practice, and have it banned outright altogether.