If growing up as a teenage girl isn’t complex enough, Desiree Akhavan’s coming-of-age drama explores the difficulty of finding who you really are in a place that aims to stamp it out.
Caught kissing the prom queen, Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) is shipped off by her aunt to God’s Promise - gay conversion therapy loosely disguised as a Christian camp. The approach taken isn’t explicitly violent, rather unveiling the subtle emotional abuse contained within bible study and group therapy. Led by Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and her brother Rick (John Gallagher Jr) who insists he has overcome his own attraction to men, the camp aims to ‘cure’ its disciples of SSA (same-sex attraction). Cameron gravitates towards Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) a rebellious pair who grow marijuana in the woods and refuse to succumb to the camp’s indoctrination. Despite the inhumanity of the setting, there is humour and warmth imbued throughout, especially within the trio’s alliance. Moretz’s performance is her best yet, expressing self-disgust and defiance with maturity. Her character’s sexual exploration is nuanced and contemporary, balancing the horrors of homophobia with the beauty of newfound intimacy. (research Rachel Williams). Oh dear, no sniggering mind - this is teenage serious!!