The movie bogeyman of the year? Fundamentalist religion

1400Source: The Guardian

BY Tom Beasley

Towards the end of Desiree Akhavan’s incendiary sophomore feature, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Chloë Grace Moretz’s central character attacks the anti-LGBT Christians running the conversion therapy camp where she is living for the emotional abuse inherent in “programming people to hate themselves”. She has spent months encased in the world of the God’s Promise camp, in which homosexuality is euphemistically referred to as “SSA” (same-sex attraction) and the residents are called “disciples”. Akhavan’s film is an angry depiction of a Christianity that is openly hostile to anyone whose sexuality sits contrary to the notion of the traditional nuclear family and, with that, it joins the ranks of a 2018 movie canon that positions religion squarely as an antagonist.

At the beginning of the year, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird focused on the title character’s struggles at a Catholic school in 2002. The structures and prejudices of that environment fuel her disdain for her hometown and her sense of rebellion against a world in which the refrain of “six inches for the Holy Spirit” separates amorous couples at a high school dance. For 35-year-old Gerwig and 34-year-old Akhavan, these stories hark back to their own days of youthful fightback in the 90s and 2000s. A new generation of film-makers are turning their eyes, and their poisonous pens, against the prejudices of their earlier lives – prejudices fuelled by religion.

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