This will be the first of several reviews from this year’s Tribeca film Festival. To follow our coverage, click here.
Synopsis: In 1993, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians. (IMDB)
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, and Forrest Goodluck
Writers: Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Running Time: 90mins
Based on the novel by Emily M. Danforth, this film is unfortunately still relevant today. On the surface, it’s a coming of age story of a teenage girl obviously named Cameron Post (Moretz) who is forced to attend a gay conversion therapy center. While some conversion centers take more of a physical approach towards conversion, this center took more of an emotional approach. At least Cameron didn’t have to face it alone, as she made a few friends in Jane (Lane) and Adam (Goodluck).
The three friends were fun to watch together though it was Cameron’s journey that was the most compelling to watch. She was easy to root for as it felt like she never belonged there as did the other teens in the center. However, it wasn’t because of the center administrators as they never felt like the enemy either. The great script featured not only great dialog and plenty of complex characters but also several lighter moments to offset the darker subject matter.
The excellent performances and the chemistry across the board further brought the script to life with Moretz as Cameron being the standout. In her best performance, she was vulnerable and reserved but most importantly, immensely relatable while acting as a guide for this journey. Lane and Goodluck were solid as Jane and Adam respectively as were the countless other conversion center teens with Owen Campbell giving a particularly devastating performance as Mark.
Overall, this was a compelling coming of age drama aided by a great script full of complex and relatable characters aided by excellent performances from the whole cast.