The Miseducation of Cameron Post (MovieMan Dan’s Review)
A GRIPPING COMING OF AGE DRAMA
By this point in the year, the majority of the films that made a splash at Sundance have already been purchased and released to the public in one way or another. However, there are still a few big titles left to twinkle out and one of those titles is this year’s Grand Jury Prize winning title: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”. Based on the 2012 novel of the same name (from author: Emily M. Danforth): “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is finally getting a theatrical release in North America early next month. The film has been quite popular on the Winter-Spring 2018 Festival circuit and it has really captivated audience members with its glowing reviews, subject matter and a talented young cast.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting my chance to check this one out and so when the opportunity finally came – I made sure I put the time aside to give it a watch and so here I am with an early review for you guys.
Before I dive in further, however, here’s a brief plot synopsis provided by the film’s US distributor.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the titular character of Cameron Post (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother, Reverend Rick—himself an example of how those in the program can be “cured”—the center is built upon repenting for “same sex attraction.” In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners including the amputee stoner Jane (Sasha Lane), and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit, Adam Together, this group of teenagers form an unlikely family and fight to survive. (FilmRise)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is receiving most of its praise for bringing to the screen a LGBT story and targeting a young audience while doing so and after seeing the film I can say that it certainly deserves the praise that it’s receiving. I’m glad that we’ve reached a point where these films can be released and they can find an audience. I’m doubtful that this film will be able to reach the amount of screens that “Love Simon” did back in March due to the obvious restraints the distributors will face but based on the amount of festivals this film has played at already, it looks like they are really going to push this title to as many locations as they can and that’s really great.
This is a story that deserves to be told and I’m sure that more than a few people can relate to the film’s subject matter because these ‘treatment’ centers are still around today and our youth are still being told that there is no such thing as homosexuality and that it’s all in their heads, they need healing, etc. What’s most applaudable about this film, however, is how it handles these characters. There are many times present where the film could have entered a sappy territory like most of the Hollywood tween films do but it just doesn’t happen here. Instead the film and its characters feel real and their conversations and reactions do as well.
Moving on to the performances we have to start with Chloe Grace Moretz. It’s no secret that Moretz is up there with Elle Fanning for me as one of my favorite young actresses working today. I loved her since “Kick-Ass” and I think it’s a real shame that she doesn’t get as many roles now as she used to but it’s great seeing her on screen and I really loved her performance here as the titular character of Cameron Post. This is easily her most challenging role I’ve seen her tackle yet – as there’s so much to the character of Cameron – but Moretz really pulls it off quite well – giving what I think is her best performance to date. I’m really happy to see that she seems to be tackling some mature and challenging material now to go along with the usual Hollywood fare and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.
Likewise, the rest of the young actors are all great here as well. We have Sasha Lane (“American Honey”, “Hearts Beats Loud”), Forrest Goodluck (“The Revenant”, “Indian Horse”) and a few new faces that all shine bright here. Each and every performance feels real as the script is so well written and the characters so realized. My only real complaint with this film is that the run-time didn’t seem fit for a film of this subject matter and it left me wanting more.
There’s a lot to the characters but we don’t always get the amount of depth we would like here. There’s a lot left up in the air by the time the credits start rolling and while the film is tightly paced and flows nicely at 91 minutes, it left me wondering just how much was left on the cutting room floor. I haven’t yet read the novel so I can’t speak as to how well the film translates to the big screen but as the novel is reportedly 470 pages long – It seems rather likely that this isn’t a page by page adaptation of the source material.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a truly gripping coming of age drama with some fantastic performances from its young cast, solid direction and a well written script. It’s a tightly paced film with a run-time of a 90 minutes, however, there are definitely some pages left blank and the film definitely leaves you wanting more by the time the credits roll. I’m not sure how closely the film follows the source material as I have yet to read the novel for which the film is based but I can say that it definitely feels as though there are pieces of the puzzle missing.
With that said, this film is still definitely worth a watch. With the young – up and coming talent involved – you may find your teens interested in the film and while it’s rated R I think it would make for a fitting watch with your teens. It tackles subject matter that is fitting for their age and while there is a bit of nudity and language – it’s nothing they haven’t seen before. If all else, this film will certainly serve as a great conversation piece.
Verdict: 3.5 Out of 5
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” will continue to play at a variety of film festivals throughout the month until it opens on August 3rd in New York. Following the NY release, A Canadian Release will kick off on August 10th in Select Cities while the film will expand across the US. The film will then continue to play at different venues throughout August/September and likely into the Fall. If you’re interested keep your eyes peeled on the FilmRise (US)/FilmsWeLike (Canada) Website for possible showtimes in your area! There’s already plenty of listings on both sites!