After being caught in a passionate embrace with her friend, Coley (Quinn Shepherd), Cameron Post’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) sends her to a reeducation camp for teenagers experiencing SSA (Same Sex Attraction).
Here the participants create their “icebergs” detailing the supposed causes of their SSA – from lack of parental affection, to over participation in sports or other activities “inappropriate” for their gender. Cameron’s intention is to fly under the radar and serve her time with minimal participation and without letting anyone in.
As she gets to know the other programme participants she starts to question herself and if keeping all her feelings boxed up is serving her well. When a tragedy strikes she has no choice but to decide what she believes and who she is.
The source material for this film is really powerful. Obviously gay conversion therapy is abhorrent in every way and the anguish that those who are forced to suffer through it is immense. There are moments of intensity in the film, particularly when Cameron manages to communicate with Coley and around what happens to Jamie (Dalton Harrod).
For the most part though the film only just scratches the surface. It is sort of understandable why Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) runs the programme but the motivations of his psychiatrist sister (Jennifer Ehle) and girlfriend (Marin Ireland) are never really touched on.
With only a 91 minute run time, there was definitely room to let the story and the experiences of the characters breathe a bit and the end result is affecting but nowhere near as hard-hitting as it could have been. Moretz gives a serviceable performance and her chemistry with Shepherd is electric but a lot of the time she seems really vacant.
I imagine the book does a better job of developing the story and characters.