FILM

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
By Carl Catedral With on February 11, 2018

In "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," director Desiree Akhavan explores the depths of the human soul in situations where it is confronted with conflicting messages of identity. Set in a Christian camp meant to rehabilitate teens with SSA (same sex attraction), the film follows its main character Cameron to the camp after she is caught hooking up with a female friend at a school dance. At camp, Dr. Lydia Marsh and Reverend Rick introduce Cameron and other camp members to one of their signature therapy techniques - the iceberg diagram, an exercise in which participants are instructed to map out their feelings and memories that manifest both above and below the surface. The iceberg is a recurring theme throughout the film which pokes fun of the ways in which this technique and others, while meant as an exercise of individual self-reflection, are ironically symbols of the larger institution's lack of self-awareness. In this way, the film subtly explores the often unconscious and un-reflected attitudes embedded in institutional and cultural forms of Christianity which can lead to narratives that instill feelings of self-hate in those who do not fit hetero-normative ideals. The film is gentle in its portrayal of well-meaning characters and the institutions they represent. It shows that they too are often victims of a system that seeks to offer Christian solutions and platitudes rather than genuine compassion and understanding. In the end, the film offers something to counter the platitudes - it offers a deep sense of empathy for its characters and for the audience. It invites character and audience alike to be seen and to take themselves seriously - whether they identify as LGBTQ or not. While the film touches on emotionally heavy issues, it approaches them in a self-deprecating and humorous way. The use of humor is seen, in part, through the depiction of seemingly absurd situations that unfortunately ring more true to real life that not. This use of levity juxtaposed with tragedy allows the reality and depth of the narrative to sink deeper and hit more meaningfully. "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is a beautiful film that treats the complexity of identity with respect and hopefulness - a worthy winner of the Sundance 2018 Grand Jury Award.

About the Author: Carl Catedral
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