Desiree Akhavan, a bisexual Iranian-American director, has adapted Emily M. Danforth’s book into a moving, witty, and challenging film.
Known for her leading role in Carrie (2013), actress Chloe Grace Moretz portrays an orphaned closeted lesbian in 1990’s America, named Cameron Post. One day, she is discovered having sex with her “friend” in her boyfriend’s car. As a result, she is forced by her aunt into a gay conversion therapy centre, directed by very conservative Christians.
The film alludes to Freud’s iceberg* by making Cameron write down the reasons why she has been “struggling” with same-sex (SS) attraction as a method to recover from her sin. After all, according to the director of the centre, “there’s no such a thing as homosexuality, just the struggle with sin”.
Self-doubt crosses Cameron’s mind; due to the extremity of the therapy done in the conversion centre, she thinks, “I’m tired of feeling disgusted with myself”. As a teenager, questioning yourself is a constant struggle, to the point where you do not know yourself anymore.
The film portrays this feeling perfectly and most importantly, it teaches teenagers how to confront it through the support of friends. It teaches the viewer the value of friendship, particularly during their worst moments as well as the best ones. After all, “maybe you’re supposed to feel disgusted when you’re a teenager”.
The motif of friendship shapes the film; in turn, a comprehension of the importance friendship is encouraged. This ultimately shows teenagers that they are not alone and to confirm that it is acceptable to seek help in times of struggle.
Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) are pivotal to Cameron’s internal journey (SPOILER ALERT) since she might have been forced into reconversion just for being gay and has believed that she is straight when she is not.
The three friends resemble the mismatched members of The Breakfast Club, as they are all outcast teenagers that just want to fit into a complicated world of grown-ups.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post not only deals with the struggle to discover one’s own sexuality, but most importantly to know who you truly are. It will, without question, be an important reference for the homosexual community within future generations.
* = Freud’s theory of the human mind in relation to the id, the ego and the superego.