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“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a strong coming of age story

Back at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, one of the most buzzed about titles, in addition to being a prize winner, was The Miseducation of Cameron Post. This movie seemed poised to be a potential breakout. Then, it was more or less radio silence for the flick. It played at the Tribeca Film Festival, but it wasn’t turning into the quintessential Sundance success story. Well, the time to make it happen is now. This week, the film hits theaters, hoping to attract a diverse audience. It does happen to be a terrific little independent title. So, it’s worth praise and worth seeking out.

The film is a coming of age period piece, set in the 1990’s. Here is the plot synopsis: “In 1993 after teenage Cameron is caught in the backseat of a car with the prom queen, she is sent away to a treatment center in a remote area called God’s Promise. While she is being subjected to questionable gay conversion therapies, she bonds with some fellow residents as they pretend to go along with the process while waiting to be released.” Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a complicated teenager. Still figuring out who she is, she’s thrust into this situation, with the cruel hand of Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle), along with the kinder Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) trying to guide her. At the same time, she bonds with fellow “patients” at the center, including Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane). Desiree Akhavan directs and co-writes this adaptation with Cecilia Frugiuele. Other members of the cast here include Kerry Butler, Owen Campbell, Forrest Goodluck, Marin Ireland, Quinn Shephard, and more.

I really found a lot to like about this movie. For starters, Moretz is phenomenal. She gives a performance that’s among the best of her young career. Cameron is a complicated teen, so Moretz needs to put out a lot. Luckily, she’s more than up to the task at hand. Likewise, Ehle does great work as a modern day Nurse Ratchet of sorts. This is a very observational movie. It’s a little slowly paced, and arguably ends at a strange point, but overall, the flick is quite good. The film could even look for some attention come the awards season, as we’ll discuss next.

Awards wise, The Miseducation of Cameron Post would love to be the latest Sundance alum to end up contending for Oscar love. More likely, it’s built for Independent Spirit Award nominations. Still, the Academy could well look to it in one or two categories. Expecting effective campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Akhavan), Best Actress (for Moretz), Best Supporting Actor (for Gallagher Jr.), Best Supporting Actress (for Ehle and/or Lane), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Akhavan and Frugiuele) is wishful thinking. That being said, Moretz in Actress may be the one place to focus. It’s still a long shot, but one worth shooting for. More likely? The Spirit Awards will take a shine to it.

This weekend, art house fans have a lovely character study coming their way when The Miseducation of Cameron Post opens. The film has a lot going in its favor. Moretz fans especially will find this to be a must see, but among indies that came out of Sundance this year, it’s one of the better ones. Teenagers may very well find it to be a touchstone movie in the years to come, perhaps even making it a bit of a cult classic. It’s coming out in limited release in a few days, with potentially a larger expansion in its future. Seek it out, as it’s well worth the effort…

Be sure to check out The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starting its theatrical run this Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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