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The Miseducation of Cameron Post 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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About The Miseducation of Cameron Post 💬

Pennsylvania, 1993. Welcome to God's Promise, an isolated settlement in the heart of the Rockies.

From writer/director Desiree Akhavan and based on the celebrated novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and her brother, Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) - himself an example of how those in the program can be ''cured'' - the center is built upon repenting for ''same-sex attraction.'' In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners including the amputee stoner Jane (Sasha Lane), and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit, Adam (Forrest Goodluck). Together, this group of teenagers forms an unlikely family as they fight to survive.

There's no way she's staying here.


Filmmaker Desiree Akhavan was working on a book in 2011 when a publisher sent her a pre-publication copy of Emily M. Danforth's young adult novel ''The Miseducation of Cameron Post.'' Set in Montana in the early 1990s, the 470-page book follows eight years in the life of its titular heroine. Cameron is 12 years old and just beginning to discover her homosexuality when her parents are killed. She is sent to live with her evangelical aunt and uncle, who send her to a Christian gay conversion center when they found out about her sexuality.

Akhavan was moved and impressed by the novel, which is written in the first person. ''The book spoke really honestly about coming of age and it just happened to be gay. Cameron's gayness was the whole plot but it still didn't feel like a gay issue story. It didn't feel condescending or preachy or affected. It felt just as relatable and truthful as all other really good YA novels,'' she says. ''I always thought if I were to make a movie, I would focus on the last 200 pages with her time at the conversion center.''

''I don't think there have been great teen films since John Hughes. There was something in the book that was really special. It was funny and had this feeling of an ensemble teen cast. Everyone's there for a different reason and everyone's reacted to the situation differently. The story was like a hybrid of high school coming-of-age, rehabilitation and boarding school film. It was a very rich environment for our characters.'' comments Akhavan.

''I love stories that take place in rehabilitation centers and I've always wanted to do a project that talked about what it felt like to be in those rooms,'' she remarks. ''It's about 'getting better,' but what is that? It looks different for each person. People also create alliances on the basis of how committed they are to getting better or to not getting better. I was looking at the book again and it hit me: what is 'better' when you can't 'pray away the gay?' That was the kernel of an idea that producer Cecilia Fruguiele and I started with in writing the screenplay.''

Akhavan and Fruguiele began writing the screenplay in March 2015 after optioning the novel. Extensive research helped them flesh out the particulars of the film's primary setting, a Christian gay conversion therapy center called God's Promise. They read all the literature they could find that related to the subject, including books on battling homosexuality and gay conversion psychology. They found that ex-gay communities exist in all over the world and listened to sermons preached in those communities.

God's Promise is the brainchild of Dr. Lydia Marsh, who established the residential therapy center after ''curing'' her brother Reverend Rick and restoring him to healthy heterosexuality. The children at the center wear uniforms, attend classes and sermons and bunk with assigned roommates. Lydia's treatment protocol blends traditional techniques like the group and individual therapy sessions with oddities like ''the iceberg,'' an illustration exercise intended to help the kids identify the root causes of their gayness. ''I always saw Lydia as the most intelligent person in every room she's in,'' says Akhavan. ''She wanted to heal her brother. I think the conversion therapy started off as experimental and she found other therapists who were interested in this kind of work.''

Lydia is deeply serious about her work and doesn't cut the children any slack. She's very much an authority figure, not unlike a headmistress at a prep school, Akhavan notes. ''A good head of school is tough, is intimidating, and gets the job done. Lydia sees these kids as her children and thinks she's protecting them. She's a generous person with a lot of heart... who's completely wrong in how she thinks about sexuality and is teaching these kids to hate themselves. That's the messy part - everyone decides for themselves what's right and what's wrong. Good intentions can lead to terrible actions.''

Flashbacks in the story illuminate Cameron's love affair with her best friend Coley. They seize every chance they can get to be alone, getting turned on as they watch VHS tapes of lesbian-themed movies like PERSONAL BEST and DESERT HEARTS. On prom night, they sneak off to the back seat of a car to smoke pot and fool around. After they're caught, Cameron gets sent off to God's Promise. Thrust into a strange environment, Cameron is polite and agreeable and plays her cards close to her vest. Though she doesn't let on, she's not particularly interested in being cured.

Cameron finds like-minded fellowship with the camp's two misfits, Jane Fonda and Adam Red Eagle. Among other things, Jane and Adam are cultivating a mini pot garden in the nearby woods, and Jane stashes their weed in the prosthetic leg she's worn since a car accident. ''Jane and Adam are the only people there Cameron can be honest with,'' says Akhavan. ''She's never met other gay people before. She's never had a conversation about it. She's able now to have these people in her life who totally get it.''

Jane and Adam not only get it, but they're also unapologetic about it. Neither have any intention of renouncing their orientation. ''Jane and Adam have a very different scale of reference than all the other kids because they're not as religious,'' Akhavan comments. ''Jane's mother married a religious man and Adam's father went into politics and had to adopt Christianity for political reasons. But they weren't raised with this so they can see through it. Whereas Cameron was raised this way after her parents died and she went to live with her evangelical aunt.''

But like any teenager, Cameron is susceptible to self-doubt. ''In a way, the film is tracking how this center could break the will of an intelligent girl who had a good sense of who she was before she came in. How can you brainwash a person into hating themselves? I think that the emblematic of the teen experience overall. I think most people are fine before puberty and then you become a teen and you just start to question everything about yourself.''

Ultimately, events in the film lead Cameron to question the received truths that have thus far shaped her life. ''A lot of the story to me, and a lot of what John Hughes' films are about, is that moment when you realize that the adults don't have all the answers. Or maybe any answers. Everything you're told comes from people who have been alive longer and you just assume it's correct. But then at a certain point, you have to decide for yourself what's right.''

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST began production in October 2016 and shot for 23 days at a resort called Reidlbauer's in Saugerties, New York. The majority of the cast and crew lived at the resort for the duration of the shoot.

''We didn't want to beat people over the head with a lesson. It was more about showing the viewer these beautiful interpersonal relationships among these teenage kids who for the first time are coming into contact with other gay kids like themselves. Even though it's under the veil of secrecy from the heads of the camp, they're having their first moments of realization with each other that they're not alone in this. That there are other people out there like them and that this isn't crazy.''

Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron Post

''I ask you not to view this film as an isolated story of extreme circumstances, but a reality.''

Desiree Akhavan

The Miseducation of Cameron Post Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Desiree Akhavan

Writing Credits

Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele (Screenplay)

Emily M. Danforth (Novel)


Chloë Grace Moretz

Sasha Lane

Forrest Goodluck

Jennifer Ehle

John Gallagher Jr.

Marin Ireland

Owen Campbell

Kerry Butler

Quinn Shephard

Emily Skeggs

Melanie Ehrlich

Isaac Jin Solstein

Dalton Harrod

McCabe Slye

Christopher Dylan White

Music by

Julian Wass

Cinematography by

Ashley Connor

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Country: United States

The Miseducation of Cameron Post Official Trailer

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