21 July 2024

Film Review – ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ (2018)

It’s admirable to see Chloe Grace Moretz evolve into a serious young actor. Dwelling back on that cute potty mouth ‘Kick-Ass’ girl, in where she would slash and dice at her villainous prey, grabbed our attention. This is a girl who had a serious future in Hollywood. Moretz has mellowed down to an independent drama, focusing on good old fashioned acting. The fact that her latest addition to her credits is a teenage lesbian should garner interest, but does her title character Cameron Post prove to be way up there in terms of other actors who have defined the victimised lesbian? Let’s say there are flaws and merits.

Set In 1993, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy centre by her conservative guardians. The word ‘miseducation’ speaks for itself. Moretz’s character believes she is being miseducated, as the up and coming director, Desiree Akhavan makes her message apparent. Be yourself and be proud of your sexual orientation! If society brainwashes you that it’s wrong to be gay, run away from that society. It’s a simple message that is commonly taught in life skills lessons.

The audience must be prepared; ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ is not offensive nor shocking, nor controversial. We’ve seen lesbian-themed films before such as 1996’s ‘Bound’ by the Wachowchi’s which definitely ignited a fire. However 2013’s Palme d’Or winner ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ will always be the definitive film to define lesbian prejudice. Sadly, Cameron Post doesn’t meet up to this recent French classic by a longshot. There are fine directed moments and some good character development, but overall the love scenes are tame which doesn’t push any boundaries.

Chloe Grace Moretz has exerted and invested a 90% effort to her character, but something is missing. She doesn’t act tormented enough or devastated compared to Adele Exarchopoulos’ lesbian character in ‘Blue is the Warmest Color.’ The audience can’t empathise or grasp Moretz’s pain when we see how bigoted she is. In other words, she doesn’t sink her teeth into the character enough. Expect Moretz to graphically kiss and fondle her female lover at the beginning of the film. This will lead her to the therapy centre where she will meet several characters who are in the same boat.

One could compare this film to ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ where our protagonist will meet other gay patients who she will influence or be influenced by. Jennifer Ehle’s, Dr. Lydia Marsh will immediately be compared to a Nurse Ratched character as she tries to brainwash teenagers that being gay is sacrilegious. The fact that she abides by the bible and torments the children is a fun character to play. However, once again she is far tamer than Nurse Ratched that the audience doesn’t hate her enough to love her.
Finally, the next leading role and Moretz’s partner in crime is Sasha Lane playing Jane Fonda. (Named after?). Lane’s outstanding performance in ‘American Honey’ is expected to open serious doors to Hollywood, due to her extreme beauty and exuding sexuality.

Sadly she doesn’t meet up to that standard in Cameron Post, as she allows Moretz to take the lead and doesn’t steal any limelight of her. Overall the film is average. There are clever visual shots that are possibly akin to Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ where Moretz lies on the grass and the camera looks down on her deep thoughts of melancholy.

It’s set in a rural part of America, implying the isolation of the gay therapy centre. Nonetheless, to show another film on lesbian prejudice needs to bring something new or controversial to the table. In this case, this is where the film fails. Where it wins is a simple story is told and teaches us to show more pride. We must do what’s right in our heart and embark on what makes us happy. If we are stopped, move away from the people that hurt us. A simple and straightforward message that must be cherished!

Aly Lalji | [rating=2]

Drama, Romance | USA, 2018 | 15 | Vertigo Releasing | 7th September 2018 (UK Cinema) | Dir.Desiree Akhavan |Chloë Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr.

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