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.
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
We can't control what happens to us or our loved ones. What happens when Annie goes to college?
What are you saying?
People get hurt. There's only so much we can do to protect ourselves, our children. The only thing we can do is be there for each other when we do fall down to pick each other up.
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An authentic and insightful look into the lives left behind after an Internet Predator strikes.
David Schwimmer is not a man that I have a lot of faith in, not even to make a decent soft-comedy, so he is perhaps one of the last people that I would trust to properly make a movie about sexual abuse. Yet with Trust he has not only proved himself unfairly maligned by such low expectations but has also shown himself to be a director deserving of only the highest. This is not just an improvement on his previous effort, or a shaky, potential-filled first-step into the realm of serious film-making. It is, at this point, one of the strongest dramas of the year (It is billed as a 2010 production but didn't release anywhere until late April this year).
To synopsise the film's story is to do the film a drastic dis-service, not because of any great twists or revelations that it may contain (though I found that there was a great sense of intrigue involved in the experience; seeing just how far and in what direction the film would go), but simply because on the surface it seems like such a bleak and yet strangely banal premise: Girl meets Internet and the two fall quickly in love, it is a symbiotic relationship and each builds the other up to higher and higher points when, one day, her Internet meets his and she is blinded by the bright, stunning storm that unfolds when their new information hits her own, blinded until it is too late, blinded until at last and unfortunately Girl meets Boy and everything goes dark. In other, more straightforward terms, it is the same story that we hear again and again on the news each night, that of the young girls that fall prey to the planets new predators, the virtual wolves, the pedophiles.
And yet this is exactly what sets this film apart from the other examples of 'techno-terror' that are shooting up, now more rapidly than ever. There is no attempt to dress the premise up like I did then, no false poetics and no twist-of-genre. It is instead a straightforward examination of what actually occurs inside the houses and minds of these victims and, to my mind, it is baffling that this 'real' look is the unique approach but not that it is also the most effecting by far.
A lot of the films emotion stems from a foundation laid in the opening act; we are given a glimpse into the life of this family before the incident and they are us. There is a very strong sense of verisimilitude present in almost every scene; it would have been easy for the film to stray into cliché movie-family territory or fall into the oh so prevalent trap of mishandling contemporary technology but thankfully Schwimmer not only avoids these pitfalls but leaps them in a single bound.
Even though it is Clive Owen and Catherine Keener that are on our screen we just see 'the parents'; in Clive we see a father who loves his kids and not an amalgam of starring roles (though I do have to admit that I did think at times, 'Is Schwimmer using Owen as a kind of sexier simulacrum of himself,' but perhaps that is just me). As stunning as those two are in their roles, and I would say that it is likely Owen's best, it is Liana Liberato's portrayal of central-teen Annie that truly steals the show. Again, given the material, her role could so easily have been played with an alloy of equal parts evocation and exploitation but she really humanizes the character; we understand her thinking and feel for her even if what we feel isn't always positive. To think that this is virtually a debut performance is amazing (she has only otherwise done small roles in straight-faced TV procedurals to date) and I would not be surprised to see a lot more of her in the future.
Though I would be surprised, and somewhat disappointed, to see more of Schwimmer because he is just so damn good behind the camera that any time spent in front from now on will seem as if a waste. His direction excels on every level; not only does he show a lot of creativity in his approach to the material - All SMS's and IM's appear on screen in pop-up, colour-coded font which not only relieves us of the very tired ' Dictate everything you type' approach favored by the industry so far, but it also provides a stunning layered effect to a lot of scenes, where-in what the character is writing either adds to or spins the on-screen action in a new direction - but he also manages to deliver the base emotions with a certain kind of ease: when the characters are nervous you bite your nails, when they are angry you steam, when they're devastated you feel just as cold and alienated and when they cry so do you. It sounds like such a simple and obvious thing when you put it down on paper and yet there are few films that truly achieve it like this one does.
It is then an entirely devastating ride, one behest of even the whimsical visuals of Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones, and one not recommended for the squeamish of soul, but it is also a great one and one that I would whole-heartedly recommend to those who are up to it. If movies are about escapism then this one delivers and if they are about getting you to feel something, doubly so. Who knew Ross had it in him all these years? O me of little faith.
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