The Miseducation of Cameron Post
by director/co-writer Desiree Akhavan
It requires a certain level of audacity to take up hours of people’s time with a ﬁlm. Luckily, I’m just enough of an egomaniac to feel entitled to. Even so, it feels immoral to do so with material that doesn’t say something new, relevant and urgent. The Miseducation of Cameron Post takes place in 1993 and while I knew that conversion therapy wasn’t obsolete, I hadn’t wrapped my brain around how prevalent it was when I optioned the rights to adapt the book by Emily M. Danforth. I was looking to talk about rehabilitation, sexuality and recovery.
Midway through filming Trump was elected president and in the time that’s passed it’s become clear that a lot of horrifying, seemingly antiquated neo-Nazi level bigotry was actually boiling just beneath the surface, right under our noses. Vice President Mike Pence has advocated for federal money being diverted away from HIV/AIDS treatment and towards gay conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is only prohibited in fourteen states.
I ask you not to view this film as an isolated story of extreme circumstances, but a reality. Additionally, I ask that you go to the cinema to see it. Right now, going to the movies is a political act. When you make a choice to see something you’re casting a ballot, telling the industry these are the stories that should be made. Americans are terrified of female sexuality. While stories of men coming of age (both gay and straight) fit neatly into the mainstream, The Miseducation of Cameron Post runs the risk of being ignored because it’s a woman’s queer coming-of-age story.
Ultimately this is a film about something every person, gay or straight, past the age of 13 can recognize: that John Hughes moment when you realize the adults around you don’t have all the answers—that they’re winging it and that the difference between “right” and “wrong” is something you have to decide for yourself.