Thursday, August 23, 2018

Can 'gay' be prayed away?

Set in 1993, The Miseducation of Cameron Post features another solid performance by Chloe Grace Moretz, this time as a teenage lesbian who's sent to a program where she's supposed to pray away her gay. Moretz's Cameron finds herself in trouble when she's discovered in the backseat of a car with a girlfriend (Quinn Shephard). Director Desiree Akhavan adapts a young adult novel by Emily Danforth in realistic fashion, taking us inside an operation called "God's Promise." The adults who run God's Promise aren't total ogres. They seem to genuinely believe that it's possible to "cure" gayness; they believe that their work will result in better lives for their charges. Jennifer Ehle portrays the chilly Dr. Lydia Marsh, head of the program. John Gallagher Jr. plays her brother, a man who assists with the program. Gallacher's character says faith helped him overcome his own SSA; i.e., same-sex attraction. Cameron soon finds kindred spirits in this strange environment, making friends with Jane (Sasha Lane of American Honey) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck of The Revenant). The movie's trio of misfits has no interest in overcoming gayness or submitting to someone else's idea of religious piety. These kids simply want to be themselves, an aspiration the movie clearly endorses. Miseducation's young cast adds welcome authenticity to a story that doesn't feel quite as original or daring as we might have expected.

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