Trust (1990)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  20 September 1991 (UK)
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When high school dropout Maria Coughlin announces her pregnancy to her parents, her father drops dead on the floor. Her mother kicks her out of the house and her boyfriend dumps her, so ... See full summary »



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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Slaughter
Rebecca Nelson ...
Jean Coughlin (as Merritt Nelson)
John MacKay ...
Jim Slaughter
Peg Coughlin
Gary Sauer ...
Suzanne Costollos ...
Jeff Howard ...
Nurse Paine
Deli Man
Hannah Sullivan ...
Ruark Boss (as Patricia Sullivan)
Marko Hunt ...
John Coughlin
Kathryn Mederos ...
Factory Woman
John Bill


When high school dropout Maria Coughlin announces her pregnancy to her parents, her father drops dead on the floor. Her mother kicks her out of the house and her boyfriend dumps her, so Maria is left alone and homeless. This is when she meets Matthew Slaughter. Matthew is an educated high school graduate with a great talent for fixing electronic devices, but he can't hang on to a job because of his principled attitude towards quality. When Maria accepts Matthew's offer to help her, they begin to form a relationship with each other in which both of them begin to change. Written by Leon Wolters <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A slightly twisted comedy


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 September 1991 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A semmi ágán  »

Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)


$356,122 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Martin Donovan was cast as Matthew after Hal Hartley and Adrienne Shelly saw him in a performance at the Cucaracha Theater. See more »


Matthew: How long do you think it'll take?
Maria Coughlin: I don't know. Not long, i guess.
Matthew: Are you okay?
Maria Coughlin: Yeah. You?
Matthew: I feel like smashing things up.
Maria Coughlin: Relax. There's nothing to worry about. Why don't you go for a walk.
Matthew: I don't wanna take a walk. You sure you wanna go through with this?
Maria Coughlin: What do you mean?
Matthew: Marry me.
Maria Coughlin: Don't be crazy.
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Mess With Me
Written by Hub Moore
Performed by The Great Outdoors
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User Reviews

Low-key Hal Hartley, view at least twice or don't
26 April 2003 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

I didn't understand it right after the first viewing, but 'Trust' certainly is of Hal Hartley's finest works, excelled only by the somewhat more conventional drama 'Henry Fool'. As with many other of Hartley's earlier works, it takes a while to let the film sink into you. But with the second viewing one starts to appreciate the film's subtilities, both the dry absurd humour and the fine, deeply compassionate portraits of the characters.

The story starts up with a scene typical for Hartley: rebellious teenager Maria Coughlin informs her parents that not only will she drop out of high school, she is also pregnant. A quarrel takes place, and when her father calls her 'slut' she slaps him in the face. He drops down dead. The movie can begin.

Things get ugly for Maria. Her boyfriend, a chauvinist pig, leaves her when she informs him that she's pregnant, claiming he's not the father anyway. And at home her mother waits for her and coolly claims that since Maria's killed her husband, she is now forever in her mother's debt and have to work for her. Never again will she do housework... This is when she meets up with Matthew Slaughter, a truly gifted engineer but with a somewhat sociopathic behaviour, and filled to the brim with anger and hatered.

Martin Donovan truly does an outstanding portrait of Matthew, and perfectly manages to forge his paradoxal feelings of extreme anger and vulnerability into a fully working unit.

A deeply moving story of two scarred, somewhat maladjusted souls manage to find each other, told in a low-key mood that doesn't get to you immediately. But eventually it does, and when it're hooked.


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