In Desiree Akhavan’s Sundance crowdpleaser “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” Chloe Grace Moretz plays a teenager forced into gay conversion therapy in 1993. Based on Emily M. Danford’s 2011 novel, the movie follows Moretz’s character after she’s caught with her lover on prom night and sent to a remote facility where she bonds with some of the other frustrated teens forced to contend with challenges to their sexual identity. Akhavan’s followup to her 2014 Sundance breakout “Appropriate Behavior” is among the more commercial entries in the 2018 festival’s U.S. competition, a compelling vehicle for the actress with rousing themes of surviving oppression in sync with the zeitgeist.
It also marks a big step up for Moretz, whose career first got a lift from genre fare like “Kick-Ass” and “Let Me In.” Akhavan’s film finds her playing one of the most fully realized characters of her career, a defiant young woman unwilling to accept the repressive expectations forced on her. During the Q&A following the movie’s Sundance premiere, Moretz spoke about meeting with gay conversion therapy survivors while preparing for the roles and was joined onstage by one of them.
When an audience member asked if she could share some statistics about the contemporary status of gay conversion centers in the U.S., a voice piped up in the audience: “Let me get this.”
This was Matthew Shurka, one of the film’s consultants. Joining the cast and crew onstage to rapturous applause, he addressed the ongoing legality of conversion therapy in a handful of states.
“It is now illegal in nine different states, for minors only. New Hampshire [just] voted it down, to make it illegal,” he said. “The most recent bill is New York City, and the mayor wants to make it illegal for all ages.” After another round of applause, he added, “Unfortunately, it is legal in the remaining states.” Then he addressed the cast. “I’m one of the survivors, and Chloe brought us together,” he said. “The movie is very moving. Thank you.”
Watch Moretz talk about her experience meeting with survivors from at the IndieWire studio below.
Chloe Grace Moretz joins Sasha Lane and director Desiree Akhavan in “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” Here’s why she was attracted to the LGBTQ #Sundance2018 drama.
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) January 22, 2018