“Would you let drug addicts throw parades for themselves?” asks a gay-conversion-camp counselor in “The Miseducation of Cameron Put up,” a terrific new film about an vital situation. Her bludgeoned level is that homosexuality and substance abuse are each, within the counselor’s (Jennifer Ehle) thoughts, equally controllable sins. “No . . . No, you wouldn’t,” replies Cameron, a intelligent teen lady performed by Chloë Grace Moretz.
It’s a really humorous second in a film that you just’d count on to have precisely zero humorous moments. Gay-conversion therapy, after all, is a critical, ongoing political sizzling button.
However I used to be shocked to search out “Cameron Put up” a candy indie movie within the custom of John Hughes. Calmly directed by Desiree Akhavan, the film doesn’t get tangled within the weeds of politics, however as a substitute focuses intensely on its beautiful characters.
These particular folks — the campers and counselors, too — don’t wail in agony, or speechify concerning the system. Their dialogue is stuffed with dry humor, the movie’s shade palette is heat and, not like the Montana camp the place it’s set, there’s no preachiness right here.
After Cameron is caught making out with a woman in the highschool parking zone, her aunt ships her off to God’s Promise, a Christian pray-the-gay-away camp that teaches that same-sex attraction is like an iceberg — most of their sexuality points exist under the floor. Youngsters even need to fill out iceberg coloring sheets with attainable causes, resembling “sports activities” or “an excessive amount of consideration from Mother.”
The camp’s uniform-clad group is a mixture of younger folks earnestly, devastatingly attempting to alter themselves, and rebels who know that it’s all a bunch of BS. Cameron lands with a few the latter (Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck) and tries to make the most effective of her scenario by way of friendship. That, she figures, is one thing she will management.
That is Moretz’s finest efficiency but. The small scale of the movie emphasizes her delicate decisions, and he or she manages to be unhappy however not pitiable. It’s a deft steadiness. A supporting efficiency — however the film’s heftiest — is Owen Campbell as Mark, a charismatic boy at Promise. The man looks like he’s acquired every little thing going for him, but it surely’s Mark who reveals the true penalties of locations like these.