Monday, October 24, 2011

"We can't control what happens to us or our loved ones."

Film: Trust
Year: 2011
Director: David Schwimmer
Written by: Andy Bellin, Robert Festinger
Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato, Jason Clarke, Viola Davis, Chris Henry Coffey, Spencer Curnutt, Aislinn DeButch, Noah Emmerich. 
Running time: 106 min.

Trust is a film which takes a look at something that is a very real and happening thing, but very few have dared to make a movie about it. Now, we are all on the internet (if you're reading this right now, I'd be highly worried if you weren't on the internet). Most of us don't physically know each other, but we still have nice conversations and stuff like that. Trust focuses on 15 year old Annie (Liana Liberato), who often chats to a guy named 'Charlie' online, who she thinks is similarly aged to her, and they are connected through their love for volleyball. They talk at every opportunity possible, and she often calls her beautiful and really boosts her self esteem. But then she finds out that he isn't really 16, he actually is 20. Turns out that was a lie too, because he then confesses that he is 25. Charlie and Annie decide that they should meet, and it's then that Annie discovers that this Charlie is really a man in his mid-30s (he is played by Chris Henry Coffey). While Annie is at first very disappointed and a little scared by this fact, she still hangs out with him, before he takes her back to his house and gets her to wear some lingerie that he bought her, before raping her.

Obviously, this movie isn't easy to watch. It's not just because of the rape and the paedophilia; it is the fact that Annie is not much older than I am, and most of what happens in this movie is extremely plausible. Also, as the title would suggest, one of the main factors of this movie is trust. Watching how trust, whether it be from Annie or from her parents (played by Clive Owen and Catherine Keener), is broken in the most horrible ways, is what I found the most uncomfortable to watch in this movie. I've never really been through any trust-breaking situations because I never usually do anything to allow that to happen, but it just felt so close to me. First, Annie's trust is broken by Charlie, even if she didn't get the full impact of it until the end when she realised that she was actually raped, as opposed to Charlie actually loving her enough to have sex with her. Then her trust is broken by her best friend, who suspects something is wrong with her and books her in to see the counsellor (Viola Davis), which makes the problem bigger than Annie wanted it to be. Her trust is then broken by her parents, especially her father, who wants to get to the bottom of what has happened, and try to hunt Charlie down. Finally, Annie's trust is broken by all of her peers, who label her as a 'slut' online. You see trust broken down little by little, being worn down until its non-existent. This is where I feel Trust succeeds the most, and it sets the film apart from others.

However, while there was plenty that I really liked about Trust, there was plenty that stopped the film from achieving greatness. The film is tremendously uneven. I, personally, found it really hard to believe that Annie would believe that Charlie really wanted to have sex with her because he loved her, and continued to believe that even when people told her otherwise. Perhaps this is why the film seems so obvious, which makes it really hard to believe in, and contributes to an extremely awkward tonal shift towards the climax. Sometimes the film comes across as a little melodramatic, but then again, this is the kind of thing you could expect from a teenage girl who has just had her world crash down around her ears. Newcomer Liana Liberato does a brilliant job of playing this teenage girl, often going against the melodrama the script calls for and portraying Annie's several breakdowns realistically. A great deal of the film's success comes down to Liberato's amazing performance, and it is great that they found someone as young and as talented as her. Her character demanded a lot, and yet she went about her performance with a strength that is unlikely to be found in girls similar to her age. I was extremely impressed with what she did.

David Schwimmer, who I will always remember as Ross in Friends (I mean, who wouldn't?), takes one of his first plunges into 'serious territory' after directing a few comedies. He does particularly well, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was made like a TV never really looked as - how could I put this without sounding like an idiot? - glossy as other movies. I'm not saying that it's a particularly bad thing, but it threw me a little bit. He directs Owen and Keener in two very good performances. Owen is not given one of those bad-ass roles he has been in recently, even though he is given the opportunity to. I mean, he could have gone full-on Liam Neeson in Taken here, but thankfully he didn't, which adds a sense of realism to the film. He gives a great performance, often conflicted with what he should do about this pervert. Keener, who has starred in plenty of indies in similar role, also does a very good job of being the supportive wife and mother. Viola Davis, Jason Clarke and Chris Henry Coffey offer good support. But I don't think I could ever watch anything with Coffey in it again, because he really creeped me out.

I suppose this is where I should say that I really enjoyed this film. To be honest, I really didn't. That, however, doesn't mean that I didn't think it was a good film. In fact, I believe this is an essential film, which every teenager should watch to realise the full extent of what can happen on the internet.

What I got:


  1. I understand that it's not for everyone, but I think it's a really important, vital movie. I'm glad it was made.

  2. This has been on my netflix que for a while. I will try to watch it soon after i finish my horror marathon for Halloween

  3. i really liked this movie. you know, there are tons of teenagers out there who have low self esteem and really submit to guys like this, and they really think they love them? it happens more often than you may think...

  4. I agree it has an important lesson but it also looked too much like a TV movie with good actors for me to really praise it.

  5. Tyler - I'm glad it was made too.

    Julian - Definitely check it out. It was an important film.

    Candice - I know it happens a lot, really.

    Bonjour Tristesse - I remember seeing your review of it and feeling a bit edgy about seeing it. But yes, it kinda did look like a TV movie!


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