Actor/director Joel Edgerton’s critically acclaimed film adaptation of Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir “Boy Erased” found a place on several end of the year “best of 2018” lists.
The movie had a high-profile cast, including Edgerton, Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and gay singer/songwriter Troye Sivan, and earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations.
“Boy Erased” wasn’t the only 2018 movie to address the horrifying subject of Christian conversion therapy. Based on Emily M. Danforth’s 2012 Y/A novel of the same name, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (MVD Visual), newly available on Blu-ray,boasted a slightly less big name cast, such as Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular character, Broadway actress Kerry Butler, out actress Sasha Lane and Jennifer Ehle.
Set in 1993, Cameron and her girlfriend Coley (Quinn Shephard) find themselves in big trouble when they are caught having sex in the backseat of a car by Jamie (Dalton Harrod), Cameron’s date for the homecoming dance. Cameron, who has been living with her religious Aunt Ruth (Butler) following the death of her parents, is scolded by her church’s pastor. Before you know it, Ruth is dropping Cameron off at the campus of conversion therapy site God’s Promise where she is to be a “disciple”.
She is greeted by Jane (Lane) and introduced to her roommate Erin (Emily Skeggs). Ex-gay Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.), who runs the facility with his severe sister Dr. Lydia Marsh (Ehle) searches Cameron’s suitcase and confiscates her Breeders cassette, flags it as inappropriate.
Rick and Lydia like to toss around terms such as “gender confusion”, sin and “SSA” (same sex attraction). They say that sports, for example, can cause gender confusion in girls. They have the residents draw pictures of icebergs and use the image as a metaphor for the struggle against same sex attraction.
As far as the other queer teens undergoing conversion therapy, Cameron finds kindred spirits in Jane and Adam (Forrest Goodluck). Most of the others, including Erin, Helen (Melanie Ehrlich), Dane (Christopher Dylan White) and Steve (Isaac Jin Solstein), and to a lesser degree Mark (Owen Campbell), are desperately committed to change, no matter the cost to their psyches.
The best parts of the movie are the scene in which Cameron bonds with Jane and Adam. Adam, who is Lakotan and considers himself to be “two spirit”, has a great sense of humor, joking that having sex with Dr. Marsh ‘would be like fucking the mom from “Carrie”.’
The cruelty to which Dr. Marsh will stoop knows no bounds. When Mark has what amounts to a breakdown during a therapy session, she is cold as ice. After catching Cameron, Jane, Adam and others singing along to the 4 Non Blondes song “What’s Up?”, she punishes Cameron by giving her the letters from Coley she’s been withholding from her. The content of the letters is upsetting to Cameron as Coley accuses her of manipulating her. The last straw, driving Cameron, Jane and Adam to plan their escape, occurs when Mark is hospitalized after seriously hurting himself with a razor and bleach.
Queer filmmaker Desiree Akhavan, whose 2014 feature film debut “Appropriate Behaviour” is a must-see, does an admirable job of bringing Danforth’s book to life onscreen. As you might expect, the film belongs to Moretz who, with each movie she makes, is developing into one of the best actresses of her generation. Blu-ray bonus features include commentary by Akhavan, a behind-the-scenes photo gallery and more.
Check out all of SFGN's Film Reviews @