From when I was younger to now, I continue to stand by my opinion that Chloe Grace Moretz is one of the most talented young actors I have seen on regular television, and this movie proved no different. In this film, Moretz played a junior in highschool during the 1990s who was in a relationship with a girl from her bible study group. However, in typical Hollywood fashion, she gets caught making out with this girl by her boyfriend. At prom. Under these not only awkward but devastating circumstances, Moretz, or Cameron as she is called in the film, is shipped off to a conversion camp filled with religious fanatics and fantasies of the transition from homosexual to heterosexual simply by finding your way to god. The camp even has a “changed” alumni to boot. In her time at the camp, Moretz experiences a series of hardships that are unparalleled by anything I have ever experienced. Moretz was forced to hate herself, which is easy enough to do as a teenager. However, the movie was ultimately heartwarming and I found that the friendships that Moretz made throughout the movie seemed entirely genuine to their awkward start to loving end.
One of my favorite parts of the movie, from an activists perspective, was that next to none of the characters attending the camp fit the typical “gay” or “lesbian” stereotypes. Although those stereotypes presented themselves as they were bound do, I found that every character had so much more to offer than just being gay. In many movies and shows lately, Hollywood places the stereotypical gay character into the cast simply to check off their diversity box. They put either a gay man whose only purpose in the series or movie is to be flamboyant or a lesbian whose only purpose is to seem broody and wear leather. More simply put, their only role within the story is to be gay. They have no other parts to them whatsoever. No one is just gay. Everyone is a multitude of things. I can be gay and a runner and a sister just as I can be straight and do all those things. To me it was beautiful how the movie addressed the whole person.
In addition to not simply being gay, a lot of the characters broke the typical stereotypes. For example, Moretz was pictured at her prom in a “girly” dress with her makeup done and her girlfriend looked the same. In fact, the girl she was seeing seemed popular and fashionable. Even to the extent of being prom queen. Being a lesbian doesn’t mean one can’t be feminine. They are not one in the same. This movie serves to show queer people in their totality, breaking down expectations one by one.
Lastly, the movie addressed an uncomfortable topic while somehow making it accessible to a multitude of audiences, simply by sprinkling moments of discomfort with moments of new found friendship and self realization. The movie was plot driven and kept you watching throughout the whole thing. There were certainly parts where I wanted to look away, but I found myself continuing to watch and experiencing the events as they were portrayed on the screen. That’s the power of good storytelling: it can take the most difficult topics and feed it to you bit by bit, until you can gain a greater comprehension.