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The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Rounding up the Usual Suspects — LiveJournal
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The Miseducation of Cameron Post
SIFF's capsule summary: "Chloë Grace Moretz stars in Desiree Akhavan's poignant indie drama about three gay teens who meet at a dubious conversion therapy camp in the 1990s, where they refuse to "pray the gay away" and instead accept themselves for who they are. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival." (US, 2018, 90 minutes)
SIFF link: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In the 1990s, high school girl Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) starts to realize that she's gay, and after a school dance she makes out in a car with her friend Corey Taylor (Quinn Shephard). Her date to the dance, a boy, catches them, and he's shocked. He tells others, and soon the gossip gets back to the religious-conservative relatives who have been Cameron's guardians since her parents died. They send her to "Promise Camp", where she is supposed to learn how to stop her "same sex attraction" feelings through prayer and quack psychological counseling.

At the camp Cameron is assigned to a room with Erin (Emily Skeggs), who has gained a degree of trust from the camp counselors. In charge of the camp are Reverend Rick Marsh (John Gallagher Jr) and his despotic sister Dr Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle). Cameron is not interested in changing who she is, but pretending to play by the rules is challenging.

7 Good The film is based on a 2012 novel by Emily M Danforth, and adapted by director Desiree Akhavan and co-writer Cecilia Frugiuele. One change from the book that took negligible research to find out is that the book's Cameron was only 12. Besides that, there must have been a lot of abridgment to compress a 470-page novel into a 90-minute feature. While I can't say how well the film worked as an adaptation of the book, the film's story was good. One possible complaint is that Promise Camp seems quite benign compared to the horrors I have heard about in some news accounts of "pray away the gay" camps. But that may be consistent with the novel, and not every such camp is as malevolent as the ones that get the most attention on the news. The directing is good too.

The highlight is the acting by Chloë Grace Moretz; she's excellent. John Gallagher Jr is also excellent, particularly where he's challenged from the camp's prisoners on one side and his sister on the other. Jennifer Ehle is good, but the script leaves her less room to show humanity. Supporting roles are good.

Overall, I rate the film good; I might have rated it higher if the book had been published and adapted to film earlier.

Languages: English.

Rating: It appears that this film is scheduled for release unrated. If it were rated, it would probably get an "R", on the basis of language, scenes of drug abuse, and MPAA prudishness about anything LGBT.

Screening: noon, Pacific Place (room 4).
Audience: a fairly large SIFF press screening crowd, over 100, about 285 seats (estimated capacity).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements: no ads at press screenings; SIFF volunteer "J" provided announcements.

Notes to myself:

SIFF statistics: 19 films (all features), 1 unofficial party.

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