In “But How Gay Is It?”, we seek to answer the biggest questions you have about a new movie release in theaters now — including, most crucially, the titular question. Does the movie have any queer characters? Are there stories involving same-sex lovers? Which gay icons star in the film? We’re bringing you all that and more.
What is The Miseducation of Cameron Post? The first of this year’s two big conversion therapy films — to be followed by fall’s Boy Erased — the Sundance darling The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the titular protagonist after she is sent to God’s Promise. As you could easily guess from the description of the film and the ultra-Christian name, God’s Promise is a conversion therapy camp. While there, Cameron runs the gamut of emotions that these psychological torture show “camps” inspire: shame, anger, horror, and more. The script, by director Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele, does the hard task of demonstrating the inhumanity of these camps, while still keeping the story centered on Cameron and her journey.
Who’s in it? Chloe Grace Moretz plays Cameron, a lesbian teen stuck in a far less accepting 1993. (Though it should be noted far and wide that 37 states still allow the junk science of conversion therapy today for kids, and literally every state allows it for adults.) She’s joined at God’s Promise by fellow young queers Jane (American Honey’s Sasha Lane) and Adam (The Revenant’s Forrest Goodluck), plus the woefully abused “ex-gay” Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) and his would-be therapist, God’s Promise director Dr. Lydia March (Jennifer Ehle). The reveal of their relationship, which is something of a spoiler, is one of Cameron Post’s most heartwrenching moments.
Why should I see it? In addition to being an effective damning of conversion therapy, Cameron Post is an affecting film. It’s a small story well-told, capturing the emotional toll of conversion therapy on the young people involved quite tenderly and sensitively. It doesn’t quite stick its own landing, but the spirit of the film is right.
But how gay is it? Obviously quite gay! And different shades of gay, too. You get a pretty diverse coalition of young queer people at God’s Promise. It’s not exuberantly gay, a la Mamma Mia!, but soberly and bracingly gay.
How is Moretz as Cameron Post? It’s easily the finest performance from a young actor I usually think is either a shade too precocious (Kick-Ass) or overly self-conscious (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising). This is the first time I’ve seen a Moretz performance where I believe her, because she really fades into Cameron. At no point does her character feel like just a character.
Will this movie make me want to get conversion therapy for kids banned in every state in the union? You bet your ass it will. And I’ll be right there with you on the front lines.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is in select theaters now.