After I saw the film, I did what I always do: I pulled up the film's page on IMDb (I'm a sucker for the trivia page). The first thing I noticed was the film's rating: 6.8/10.
"Cameron starts humming "What's Going On" and within minutes is standing on the table singing it loud and proud. There's an inherent energy in that scene that often feels missing from the rest of the picture. Also, the people in this story are flesh-and-blood examples of a tragic emotional Stockholm Syndrome that should not be. I just wish the story did more with them."
As I read their review, I found myself agreeing with allenwhybray. I wanted there to be more energy in the film. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood why the filmmakers would choose not to.
When Cameron is caught in a lesbian tryst, she gets sent away for conversion therapy. In the aforementioned singing scene, it ends with the camp therapist giving Cameron mail privileges—with the subversive goal of having Cameron read a letter from her former lover, where she blames Cameron for "taking advantage of her". In one scene, the character Mark, angrily reacting to the news that his father won't let him come home—he is still "too feminine"—ends with Mark literally being kept down on the ground by the camp therapist's foot, while she tells Mark that she will only let him up when he calms down.
Any time a character has an outburst of emotion, or acts as their true self, they are punished. The film reflects the reality the characters were living in.
1. The inherent nitpicking that comes with a numeric score is exactly why I use an expanded up-down system at 50 Words or Less.