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‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ review: Chloë Grace Moretz fails to nail harrowing role

Desiree Akhavan’s adaptation of gay conversion therapy novel by Emily M. Danforth doesn’t deliver the punch to the gut it should.

John Gallagher Jr. as Reverend Rick and Chloë

John Gallagher Jr. as Reverend Rick and Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron Post in "The Miseducation of Cameron Post." Photo Credit: FilmRise

‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’

Directed by Desiree Akhavan

Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., Jennifer Ehle

Not Rated

Playing at Landmark 57 West, Quad Cinema

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” depicts a monstrous human rights abuse with the sensitivity and tenderness of a typical coming-of-age movie, which renders it simultaneously affecting in terms of its nuances and diluted when it comes to its dramatic impact.

Desiree Akhavan directs and co-writes this adaptation of a 2012 novel by Emily M. Danforth that tells the 1993-set story of a 12-year-old Montana girl forced into gay conversion therapy.

The protagonist, Cameron Post, is aged into a high school student played by Chloë Grace Moretz and the movie is often harrowing as it unpacks the psychological torture inflicted on her and the other teenagers at the conversion center run by Dr. Lydia March (Jennifer Ehle) and her brother Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.).

The movie works best when it exposes the insidious tactics incorporated to promote self-hatred and denial in the guise of religious healing and its most lasting impact comes from the knowledge that this practice is still legal in a large swath of the U.S., including in New York.

Akhavan takes a restrained approach to chronicling Cameron’s journey and Moretz is never up to the task of conveying any sense of inner struggle. The character is too static and feels too sure of herself for the movie to deliver the gut punch it should.

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