An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Bryce Dallas Howard
A suburban family is torn apart when fourteen-year-old Annie (Liana Liberato) meets her first boyfriend online. After months of communicating via online chat and phone, Annie discovers her friend (Chris Henry Coffey) is not who he originally claimed to be. Shocked into disbelief, her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) are shattered by their daughter's actions and struggle to support her as she comes to terms with what has happened to her once innocent life. Written by
An extremely powerful and shocking film.... an honest portrayal of modern society and the internet age, and of the dangers that lurk in its shadows...
I wonder if I was the only person who was surprised watching this to see that David Schwimmer, Ross from the popular TV series "Friends", was behind the camera for this film. Albeit, he had surprised me years ago with his fantastic performance in the war mini-series "Band of Brothers", where he portrayed a tough-as-nails drill instructor which laid down any doubts that this man was the dumb softy he played for a decade in "Friends". And now he directs Clive Owen ("King Arthur", "Closer") in this shocking, honest and powerful film about a teenage girl who falls under the charm of an online sexual predator, of which the consequences shatter her family and lay bare any delusions that even in a quiet comfortable suburbia, our kids, and even us, are safe.
Annie (Liana Liberato) is 14 and living a comfortable life with her family in the suburbs of Chicago. A few days after her birthday, she meets a sixteen year-old boy in an online chat room named Charlie. They seem to have an instant connection, and as well as chatting online, they text and call each other. Annie is head-over-heels for this young man, as he comforts her and encourages whenever she feels down. But then she finds out that he has lied about his age... and is actually in his twenties. Annie is shocked at first, and angry that he lied, but she forgives him, and agrees to meet up with him. And when she does, Charlie of course, it not who he said he was, and is not what Annie imagined. And a lack of maturity and indecision on the day leaves her raped, humiliated and confused. And the consequences of this shatter her family, as well as her.
The acting is absolutely fantastic all round. Liana Liberato gives us a look of what is potentially a fine talent that will blossom over the next few years, as she plays the lead role of fourteen year-old Annie. Clive Owen, who I have always admired as an actor, plays her father, whose reactions to what has happened to his daughter are as natural and humane as any father's would be if this had happened to their daughter, so I don't think the script called for much writing here. Oscar nominated Catherine Keener (Best Supporting Actress "Being John Malkovich" and "Capote") is her mother, whose way of coping with the event is not to lash out, but instead, to try and move on and support her daughter.
What I found to be the most powerful and shocking aspect of this film was how easy it is for a paedophile to stalk and groom a young teenager online and take advantage of the situation. I'd been aware of it, as everyone is, but this is the first time I've seen the matter tackled properly in film. I think that this film should be shown in schools, and I know I might sound preachy here, but I think any parent would agree with me on this. And besides, it's a very entertaining film anyway. I look forward to more work from Schwimmer, and hopefully, it will be on a similar calibre.
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