Keep your hair out of your eyes of I’ll cut it off!
Director : Desiree Akhavan
Cast : Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, John Gallagher Jr, Forest Goodluck, Dalton Harrod, Emily Skeggs and Quinn Shephard
So it isn’t often that not only do I talk about a film that is released at the cinema, but even less so a film that is coming out soon, however, that is the case after I got a rare chance to attend a preview screening of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” more than two weeks before its UK release date.
This is a movie I’d been looking forward to for some time given how subtle it appeared compared to Chloe Grace Moretz’s usual cinema releases, especially as I have commented in several previous reviews and yearly breakdowns that I do like her, but her choice of films is actually very poor. Whilst I did enjoy some of her earlier efforts, such as “Kick Ass”, films such as “Brain on Fire” were passable, but “Neighbours 2” and “The 5th Wave” both barely escaped my bottom ten of 2016, and 2015’s “If I Stay” was average.
Anyway, so yeah, this is released in UK cinemas on September 7th. I’ve decided to review it as I don’t think it will do that well in terms of box office returns due to the lack of advertising, and also a low number of votes on IMDB despite a release in the US some time ago.
Cameron (Moretz) goes to her prom but is caught in the back seat of a car with best friend Coley (Shephard). The two had been sharing a sexual relationship for some time and coming from a Christian family, Cameron is sent to a gay-conversion camp by her guardian. She is far from happy and struggles to fit in.
She quickly meets the owner of the camp, the enthusiastic and friendly Rick (Gallagher Jr), but Cameron struggles to adapt to life and often has sexual fantasties about Coley. She soon befriends camp rebels Jane (Lane) and Adam (Goodluck), who both pretend to be straight in order to get home, but that desire that every youngster shares ends up having near-fatal consequences.
Is it worth watching when it is released?
At the time of writing I have seen 68 films at the cinema during 2018 and as it stands, this is going into my top ten (admittedly only just). I haven’t reviewed many films with this sort of theme recently, which is something that I am hoping to rectify soon, but this is very resembling of the movies that I looked at during the first few years of this site. It has the look and feel of a film that normally wouldn’t get released at the cinema, so it is good that more and more movies are getting that opportunity when they didn’t use to.
So this is a movie that I can imagine will put a fair few people off, whether it be because of the LGB (no, not LGBT as being transgender isn’t related to sexuality (see previous reviews for justification)) theme, or indeed the heavy religious aspects. This is a film that I can imagine marginalised and suffering in terms of attendance at the cinema because of those two aspects. I know many members of the LGB community that are offended by the idea of a conversion camp (and rightly so), whereas religious people may choose to miss it when they find out the subject matter in relation to the sexual orientation of the central character.
Anyway, the cast is excellent. After initially thinking she was meh during the first time I watched her in “American Honey”, I have been very impressed with Sasha Lane in quick fire screenings of her films (this and the recently reviewed “Hearts Beat Loud”). She has a very likeable quality about her due to her laid-back approach. Forrest Goodluck is also far more likeable than he was in “The Revenant”.
For me the stand out is definitely John Gallagher Jr. I’ve only seen him in a few different films before and he has always been one of the better aspects to the cast, but in this he makes his character exceptionally likeable, and more important, vulnerable. There is a conversation with Cameron near the end after an incident and you begin to realise just how out of his depth he is, but you have to admire his optimism and belief in what he is doing (even if you disagree with it as an audience member).
With a subject matter that might put people off for various reasons, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a well written and acted story about youth, acceptance and rebellion. At the time of writing it is in my top ten for the year.
It is a very subtle film that definitely try and force a message down your throat either way. The characters feel genuine and you understand all of their perspectives. There is only one character that is really an antagonist, and even then you can still see why they they are doing what they do.
If you do get a chance to watch this after its UK release date then I would definitely recommend doing so.