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Film / The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a 2018 film directed by Desiree Akhavan about a teenage girl's experience at gay conversion therapy camp. It's based on a book of the same name.

Set in 1993, the story starts with Cameron Post's (Chloë Grace Moretz) prom night. After she's caught in her car with the prom queen, her guardians send her to gay conversion therapy at a place in Montana called "God's Promise".

This film provides examples of:

  • The '90s: The film is set in the early 1990s. It's recent enough to be 20 Minutes into the Past but it's before the quickly changing attitudes towards LGBT people of the mid-1990s through 2010s. This allows the film to be set during a period where gay people were still largely ostracized and where gay conversion therapy was commonplace.
  • Auto Erotica: Cameron is caught while having sex with her secret girlfriend Coley in a car together.
  • The Beard: Cameron went to the prom with her boyfriend Jamie. He's the one who catches her with the prom queen and freaks out.
  • Cast Full of Gay: As most of the film is set in a gay conversion therapy camp, the cast is mostly gays, lesbians and otherwise LGBT+ kids (some staff members there are supposedly "ex-gay").
  • Commune: Jane says she was raised on a hippie commune, as shown in flashbacks from her childhood.
  • Cure Your Gays: God's Promise is a facility that focuses on gay conversion therapy.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The film is set in 1993 and has a period-typical rural/suburban American viewpoint towards homosexuality.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Technically, the camp is run by Reverend Rick, but it's his sister Lydia who's actually in charge.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Jane is a black girl with her hair in dreadlocks. Among the kids at the conversion therapy camp, she's probably the most rebellious, openly disparaging the "treatments" as pure nonsense and secretly growing marijuana in the woods nearby herself along with her friends. She was raised on a hippie commune, which could explain a lot of this.
  • Gayngst-Induced Suicide: Subverted. Initially, it seems like Mark had a breakdown and tried to kill himself, but he was actually trying to mutilate his genitalia.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Cameron has a unisex-leaning-on-masculine name. This gets noted when the head of God's Promise refuses to call her "Cam" because that's an even more Tomboyish Name and she thinks it'll add onto her "gender confusion".
  • Groin Attack: In his self-hatred, Mark cut his genitalia several times and poured bleach on the wounds.
  • Harmless Villain: Reverend Rick is a villain only in the sense of his owning the camp. He's actually quite mild and completely clueless.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Erin critiques another girl for being "too butch" when she's the short-haired sports fangirl. Helen isn't even butch.
  • I Hate Past Me: Reverend Rick credits his sister with curing him of his homosexuality and claims members of his church “rescued" him from a gay bar. Later, when Cameron asks him if he and his sister are aware that the camp teaches the kids self-hate, Rick breaks down in tears and doesn’t know what to say.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Coley, Cameron's girlfriend, gets pretty loud while Cameron is having sex with her. Later on Cameron also gets loud herself while having sex with Erin.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: According to the counselors at God's Promise, one of the girls is lesbian because she's too feminine. More specifically, Jessica's into pageants and her beauty led to her feeling inadequate in her femininity, which in turn led to her same-sex attraction. Cameron, Coley, and a number of other lesbian girls all also have traditionally feminine looks, but they aren't as pronounced.
  • Out of the Closet, Into the Fire: Cameron is caught while having sex with her girlfriend, and sent to a gay conversion therapy camp as a result.
  • Parental Abandonment: Cameron's parents are both dead and she is raised by her aunt Ruth.
  • The Runaway: The film ends with Cameron and her two friends riding a truck away from God's Promise.
  • Secret Relationship: Cameron was involved with another girl named Coley and the couple had to keep this secret as they're both from a homophobic Christian community.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: Erin abruptly has sex with Cameron, without any buildup, before acting almost like it never happened. It's Played for Drama as both are in a conversion therapy camp where Erin had been trying to repress herself, with this being apparently her giving in after a long time.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To But I'm a Cheerleader. Both films set in The '90s about teenage girls sent to conversion therapy, but while that was a darkly comic satire set in the present that portrayed the camp as a brightly-colored Crapsaccharine World, this is a dramatic, naturalistic Period Piece that focuses on the abuse and trauma that goes on there.
  • Trans Equals Gay: The teachers from the gay conversion camp God's Promise believe that the teens are "gender confused". Adam, on the other hand, is a Lakota two-spirit, which they conflate with being gay on the same basis (two-spirit is an indigenous umbrella term which can mean different things).
  • Twofer Token Minority: Most of the cast are white, with a couple exceptions, who aren't just in the background but main characters:
    • Jane is a black girl who's a lesbian.
    • Adam is a Dakota Two-Spirit.

Alternative Title(s): The Miseducation Of Cameron Post