Based on the same-named 2012 novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post stars Chloe Grace Moretz as an orphaned 11th-grader living with her aunt and uncle in Montana circa 1993. (There's wood paneling galore.) The film takes a grown-up approach to its young-adult material; this is a somewhat somber YA adaptation, with teenage subjects who are fully formed and all too human.
It opens with close-up shots of young hands gripping copies of the Holy Bible for Teens while a white-haired pastor warns, "You are at an age where you are especially vulnerable to evil." The pastor keeps talking, in voiceover, as Cameron and her bible-study friend Coley (Quinn Shephard) bike to Cameron's house, shut the door to her bedroom and furiously make out. Their encounters precipitate Cameron's enrollment at God's Promise, a Christian gay conversion therapy center located in a remote cabin in the woods. The setting is appropriate; Cameron Post is a kind of horror film, in its own way.
There, Cameron meets Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.). "He used to struggle with same-sex attraction," Cameron's chipper roommate Erin (a scene-stealing Emily Skeggs) divulges -- until his sister, Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle), intervened. After successfully converting Rick, Erin explains, Lydia set up shop and began spreading her gospel.
Director Desiree Akhavan is a subtle but deft storyteller, and Moretz is perfectly cast as a girl who sees through the bullshit and instinctively understands that most adults don't know what they're doing. The film beautifully, and painfully, illustrates, when there's no one to turn to, you turn on yourself.