Based on a young-adult novel by Emily Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is unrated by the MPAA. That’s not because it’s especially explicit — while they aren’t terribly
Based on a young-adult novel by Emily Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is unrated by the MPAA. That’s not because it’s especially explicit — while they aren’t terribly graphic, there are scenes that deal frankly with sex and sexuality that could euphemistically be called “adult situations.” It simply wasn’t given a rating because the filmmakers never asked for one; the MPAA would almost definitely have rated it R for sexual content, and that would have been a shame for a movie so squarely aimed at a particular version of the teenage experience. As it stands, the denial of the truth about adolescent sexuality — specifically what some of the characters delicately refer to as “SSA” (for “same-sex attraction”) — happens to be the film’s subject.
Cameron, an 11th-grader played by Chloë Grace Moretz, is secretly involved with a girl named Coley (Quinn Shephard). When they get caught together, Cameron is sent away to God’s Promise, a boarding school and gay “conversion therapy” center that promises to “cure” her through therapy and prayer. It’s 1993, but the director, Desiree Akhavan (who wrote the script with Cecilia Frugiuele) doesn’t make this feel like a period drama, notwithstanding the grunge-era clothes, hairstyles and musical cues. Miseducation is neither a glib sendup of a less enlightened era nor a pious reckoning with the bygone injustices of the past. It doesn’t lionize its heroes or mock its villains. It is more interested in how its characters feel than in what they might symbolize, and in how they grapple with the conflicting demands of faith and desire. And it’s about the struggle between earnest young people and the equally earnest, painfully misguided adults who think they’re saving their souls.
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