Chloe Grace Moretz is great in this strange, coming-of-age satire, about sexually confused teens being sent to Christian conversion camp in 90s Montana, where they can be ‘de-gayed’.
I say confused. They’re not, actually, at all – they’re all pretty sure they’re gay but God’s Promise pledges to pray it out of them. Though putting a bunch of horny teenagers all together with similarly sexually curious kids seems pretty unpromising if you want them to concentrate on their studies.
Chloe stars as the titular Cammie who is caught kissing a girl on prom night in the film’s excellent opening sequences. These set things up as that sort of genre, but director Des’ree Akhavan plays with it very smartly, refusing to follow the usual rhythms.
At the camp, run with stern insincerity by Dr March (played superbly by Jennifer Ehle), Cammie makes friends and battles to contain her urges. Not much really happens – I could have done with a bit more drama amid the deadpan indie coolness – although suffice to say not all of the teens can handle these attempts to control their natural sexuality, so tragedies do ensue while freedom calls beyond the woods.
I haven’t seen a film like it before, which is always a plus, and Chloe is becoming an intriguing actress. Also impressive is Sasha Lane, one of the stars of American Honey, as a character called Jane Fonda.