I want to like Desirée Akhavan more than I do. She’s a compelling – and interesting – actress, whether in Creep 2 or her directorial debut, Appropriate Behaviour. Yet Appropriate Behaviour, despite a rapturous critical reaction, never quite won me over; it felt too much like a typical New York indie film with a bisexual twist.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is similarly…familiar. Not that I’ve seen this precise story – a ‘90s period piece set in a “gay conversion” therapy centre – before, but all its features, from repressed teenagers striving to feel welcomed to authority figures defined by equal parts homophobia and hypocrisy, reminded me of films I’ve seen. There’s much to recommend the film; particularly Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance in the titular role, which despite the era-inappropriate eyebrows is her best work yet. But the entire film feels dramatically inert: too casual, too disconnected to land its big punches in the latter half.
Which is a shame, because there’s more than enough thematic meat on the film’s bones. Treating a gay conversion centre as not a torture chamber, but a synecdoche for mainstream homophobia, is a clever take. Ultimately though, I just kinda wished I was rewatched But I’m a Cheerleader.