The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Review [Tribeca 2018]

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is playing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Find screening information HERE. Hits theaters on August 3rd.

This coming-of-age movie begins with teenager Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) caught having sex with another girl on prom night. She is quickly shipped off to God’s Promise, a middle-of-nowhere treatment center run by the nefarious Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and well-meaning Reverend Rick (John Gallagher, Jr.). There, Cameron and the other teens (called “disciples” by the staff) are subjected her to emotionally abusive and dubious gay conversion therapies. Slowly but surely, she forges a community with her new friends, quietly defiant Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck).

The Miseducation of Cameron Post actually won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival back in January, so going into my screening I held high expectations. In the end, this was a good film – definitely above average, but something never quite clicked. Miseducation is not a masterpiece.

The story would have benefited from being more streamlined. A substantial chunk of Miseducation is just spent hanging out. I would not be surprised if there is more silence than dialogue here. After a promising start, the plot seems to go in circles. Its reminiscent of The Florida Project – one of my favorite films from 2017 – in that regard, showing that a movie does not need to have a clearly defined trajectory. But the wandering begins to feel pointless after a while, just when the script hurdles quickly towards the finish line.

The entire cast brings their A-game, which is a relief. The acting is seriously phenomenal. I do wish Moretz had more to do, because she is always great on screen, but I appreciate the subtlety of her character here. The supporting cast is even better, especially Emily Skeggs who plays Cam’s roommate Erin.

There’s a surprising amount of humor in The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Even more surprising is that the humor works well. Director Desiree Akhavan expertly injects doses of levity into an incredibly tragic situation. It wouldn’t be too far off to call this a horror film, and if you live in New York City like I do, Miseducation might be a culture shock.

I give The Miseducation of Cameron Post a B+.

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