The Tale (2018) Poster


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Breathe deep
peterdeuk27 May 2018
This is one of the most honest, disturbing yet beautiful explorations of a subject that is all too often over-simplified or dealt with extremely heavy-handily.

The way that the abuse is discussed within the characters frozen in time in the main character's psyche, is profound and unflinchingly honest. The discussions in real-life between mother and daughter - painfully real.

I will be thinking about this film for some time to come, it is an invitation to look much more closely at the stories we tell ourselves, especially with regards to "love".
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How we re-write history to survive - heartbreaking
coachbarbwade30 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The most interesting thing to add to other reviewers is how this poor child chose to reinvent what happened to her as consensual, as evidence she was "mature," she was making her own choices, she was "NOT a victim!" (as she boldly wants us to know!).

Yet this sweet, young, pre-pubescent girl was abused, molested, and raped through preying upon her own insecurity, self-doubt, and shyness. However, she CAN'T see it that way and continue to survive.

So the adult Jennifer begins the movie with a fuzzy memory of a consensual relationship and herself at around 15 in her mind (until her mother corrects her - no, you were 13 that summer). And she slowly unravels what really happened. Most interestingly, we see the devastation in her life in present day that's a direct result of her experiences.

I know this is based on a true story. I would love to have seen /read the "original" essay she wrote at 13 years old for English class about the entire experience and why the teacher did NOT become alarmed and alert the girls parents or authorities. But it was different time then.... Still, unforgivable.
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mymovies-9371327 May 2018
I've never written a review in my life, but anyone who has been touched by child sexual abuse get ready to feel bombarded. The shame, the confusion, the guilt, even the secret feelings of being "special"....they're all in there. This film was both hard to watch and hard to look away from. The acting is superb and the flow of dialogue realistic. A cautionary tale for anyone with children.
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mathomas-2805329 June 2018
This is a masterpiece. Jennifer Fox is a genius. Writing and directing? Amazing. And, apparently, she actually wrote the story at age 13 that this movie is based on. Wow. The directing is so subtle, the mixture of past and present, the interaction of the characters, the woman and her mother. Stellar performances by all.

P.S. The subject matter, sexual abuse of a minor, is not everyone's cup of tea. If you're offended by it, or don't think it's important enough to have its own movie, don't watch "The Tale." I wasn't familiar with it until I became a therapist, but now I know it occurs and is a devastating and life-altering experience. This movie handles it fantastically. But if you don't want to see a film about it, don't watch this movie.

Jennifer Fox, you are brilliant. Please keep going. Have you got another one of these for us?
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I've never written a review but..
parkii-5664225 July 2018
This movie is absolutely perfect. It's raw, real, and shows how sexual abuse can affect the subconscious for a lifetime. As someone who was sexually abused at a young age, I recommend this movie to anyone who has gone through something similar. You won't regret it.

The acting is superb, the writing and style of film works great for the theme.

POWERFUL, MOVING, BREATHTAKINGLY PAINFUL.. This is one movie I will never forget.
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Very Powerful and yes....Heartwrenching
bearcosmo10 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
As a victim of incest from the age of 7 until 15, I found this movie extremely difficult to watch, yet it was completely right-on from the child's and survivor's point of view. "Don't tell anyone" was what I was told over and over by my brother and I didn't until I was physically abused by my 1st husband. I told my parents when I was 33 years old, holding all the horror inside for so many painful years.

All of the actors were magnificent and knowing that this is a true story, I give thanks to the author for breaking her silence in a way thousands of children who are now adults can relate to. Thank you for telling everyone!!

I am finally getting therapy, and it's so eye-opening to see how those years of abuse contributed to the choices I made in my adult life. I'm only sorry it took me over 50 years to let the demons inside of me out.

Excellent movie, not to be missed.
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Important film
lorirees28 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
When a child is abused she may construct a false narrative in order to protect the self. An essay written by the filmmaker (Jennifer Fox) when she was 13-year-old resurfaces memories of a summer when she was groomed and sexually abused by a coach.

Fox, so effectively groomed, or self-protected, believed well into adulthood that the abuse was a legitimate consensual relationship. After seeing herself at the age of the abuse in photographs, and realizing she was a prepubescent child, she begins to uncover the truth of what really happened. Puberty or not, Fox was 13 and the perpetrator was in his forties.

This film is difficult to watch at times but never exploitative. Laura Dern is excellent as always. Thank you for this important film.
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The ways of the Self
daphne_yin23 August 2018
After watching The Tale I picked up a notebook and wrote a few pages of my own. This movie is amazingly well done in revealing how the subconsciousness works to bring back sets of memories related to a topic that was so conveniently forgotten. Every memory is brought to surface at the right time when the consciousness is ready to integrate it. The directing style was surprising and so helpful in really understanding the process. It had to be Jennifer Fox directing it and no one else. Phenomenal movie.
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Deserve to be one of the front runners of 2018!
sanjidparvez30 May 2018
This is deeply moving & a remarkably honest explorations of a disturbing & heart-wrenching subject matter that we don't get to see in cinema often these days. Based on her own story, the director was amazingly brave enough to look back & shared it with such grace & smart narratives. The cast was spot on & delivered some great performances i.e. Laura Dern on the lead & her younger self portrayed by Isabelle Nélisse. Undoubtedly, one of the very best films of 2018 so far.
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Take a long view of this film
jchaverr8 June 2018
I have seen some reviews in which they completely destroy this film (they don't get it and probably will never will). It is a good work and must have been a painful one for the director. I am glad that she made it though. Seeing how her opinion of these two abusers evolves throughout the movies must be what most victims of child sexual abuse go through. In some cases must people blocks those memories, in her case she distort them to think that she was been loved....It is a sad world when a kid cannot be just a kid, because there are predators out there ready to pounce on them.
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A complete waste of talent
actfray-15 August 2018
I had high hopes for this, considering the actors involved and the fact that it was produced by HBO. But I couldn't believe how badly made it was.

This should have been an emotionally wrenching story of a woman coming to grips with the fact that she was repeatedly raped as a child by an adult she trusted. Instead, it plays more like an ABC After School Special. None of the characters have any depth or layers. I felt as if I were watching a rehearsal for the finished film. One of the problems is in the writing. Scenes just seem to exist for the purpose of conveying information, but no one seems invested. Viewers should be terrified and repulsed by Jason Ritter's character, but I found him to be dull and predictable. Even Ellen Burstyn appears to be picking up a paycheck and nothing else. Only John Heard, in the film's only honest moment at the end, comes off as real. I cared about what was going through his mind. All the other scenes were like those bad industrial films they showed you in high school.

The director (and writer), Jennifer Fox, has no point of view. And that's the main problem. Had a more competent director and writer helmed this project, I may have felt what these characters were supposed to feel - completely drained at the end. Instead, I felt like an important story was given the Cliffs Notes version.
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A Profoundly Distressing & Emotionally Devastating Self-Portrait
CinemaClown13 August 2018
A distressing, disquieting & devastating self-portrait that's right up there with some of the most upsetting films ever made, The Tale is an unflinchingly raw, immensely brave & powerfully affecting account of the director's own past that's brought to life with deft touch & unapologetic honesty, and features an unforgettable performance from Laura Dern.
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Laura Dern is a Force of Nature in this Heart-Wrenching True-Story
namashi_14 June 2018
Some True-Stories demand to be told, despite their heartbreaking, heart-wrenching reality and 'The Tale' is among those films. This Stunning film registers a sledgehammer impact & the exquisite Laura Dern delivers a performance of pure force.

'The Tale' is an investigation into one woman's memory as she is forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

'The Tale' is a true-story & what you see here, is something so disturbing, that it will leave you shaken. Pedophilia is a serious crime & Pedophiles are among the most brutal creatures out there, who are out to harm, manipulate & destroy the lives of children living in our society. Written and Directed by Jennifer Fox, 'The Tale' is Fox's true life-story on the sexual abuse she faced during her childhood & her life beyond. Fox is a brave, gutsy woman, who's made a film of her own horrors & has presented us a story that's disturbing as well as powerful. Here's a woman who's courage needs to be witnessed, spoken & shown. We can no longer let these beasts abuse the underage. Enough!

'The Tale' is also packed with stunning performances, led by the magnificent Laura Dern. Dern, One Of The Finest Actresses of All-Times, portrays Jennifer Fox with sheer heart, mind & soul. Its a performance built in force & executed in exuberance. Dern is a force of nature & 'The Tale' Salutes talent to the maximum. Isabelle Nélisse, as the younger Jennifer Fox, is extraordinary. Of the supporting cast, The Legendary Ellen Burstyn does a wonderful job as Fox's Mother, who must accept what has been happened & yet not lose her conscience. Jason Ritter portrays the evil pedophile, astonishingly. His performance is as real as it can get. Elizabeth Debicki does an excellent job as Fox's childhood idol, who has much more to say & do, than it seems. Frances Conroy portrays Debicki's older version with command. The Late/Great John Heard, as the older Ritter, is beyond perfection in a brief appearance.

On the whole, 'The Tale' is a true-story that needs to be seen, for its courage & the horror that happened. Don't Miss It.

And to the courageous Jennifer Fox...Salute!
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Remarkable examination of memory
cherold25 August 2019
The review I read of The Tale both made me want to watch it, yet it took me maybe a year to do so, because of the grim subject matter.

And yes, this story of a molested girl is grim, but it's also brilliantly and originally told.

This is an exploration of how we form the stories we tell about our own histories. Protagonist Jennifer finds her soft-focused "coming of age" memories of a "relationship" challenged by the memories and reactions of those around her. She keeps poking at those memories, and as she realigns them, we see her flashbacks alter.

It's a fascinating approach, and surprisingly exactly the thing those who criticize the movie object to, describing the approach as "messy" or "gimmicky." Ignore those critics, who seem to want a straightforward telling of childhood trauma and would doubtless ask Memento be told in chronological order and Rashomon offer less ambiguity.

Great script, great direction, great performances, and yes, sometimes painful to watch, but well worth it.
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Shocking and brutal, absolutely superb
barbaraproencataveira23 August 2019
I've been meaning to watch this movie for quite a while. I've watched the trailer and read the sinopses. Watching it I wished I went into it without knowing what it was about just because I feel it would be even a more compelling experience. This movie will make you feel uncomfortable, disgusted, heartbroken, dizzy... And that's why I believe it is such a good one. There will be moments in which you'll find yourself looking away. It's an horrible story seen through the eyes of a woman who is forced to face the truth about something in her past that she managed to hide from herself, as a defense mechanism. It really makes you wonder how many times you and the people around you sugarcoat things, because the reality is just to awful to accept. Both the leading actresses were amazing, the adult Jenny, shocked, in denial, angry, heartbroken and 13 year old Jenny, confused, broken, innocent, trying to cope with something no child should have to. It's shocking and brutal. It will leave you feeling sick to your stomach, and it will be completely worth the watch.
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A painful story that needs to be told
Gordon-1111 August 2019
This film tells the story of a woman who realises what happened to her when she was a teenager.

It is a story that has a lot of impact on the viewer because of the disturbing subject matter. The story is engaging, and the portrayal of the grooming process is very detailed. It is a sad story, but it is a story that needs to be told, so that people will be vigilant if it happens again.
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A tough story interestingly told
8512222 July 2019
Greetings from Lithuania.

"The Tale" (2018) had an amazing acting by both leads - Laura Dern and the girl who played as a young her and as well as superb directing. Script was good, but considering that it is a real story and the one who wrote the script and directed this movie is the one the movie about (!) - this gives a different wight for the whole picture. And given the hard subject, this movie handled it very well and intriguingly.

Overall, i really enjoyed "The Tale" not because of its hard subject, but because of how well it was told. This is a really good movie in all directions.
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"It was the 70's - a different time"
knitty783 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
That is the phrase repeated over and over by Laura Dern's character in defense of the abuse she endured. I lived through that time and it was different. I know of cases similar to this, where an older adult man was known to be having sex with one of the young people he was coaching. Yes, he was a track coach as well. (Odd, huh?)

Everyone in the school knew it was happening. The parents' and other adults either didn't see or didn't want to see. But it was a different time. Parents were not as cognizant of what to look for in abused children. Maybe the helicopter parents of the 21st century are part of the abused of the 70's and 80's. I would like to think that parents will follow their instincts a bit more readily than Ellen Burstyn's character.

This movie is difficult to watch, difficult to see the brave way young Jenny tries to justify her abuse to herself. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time.
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Boring, slow, repetitive, and predictable
adamantema12 June 2018
Very repetitive and messy plot. some sentences are repeated over and over. very slow pace and there isn't anything really surprising or that makes you think "wow! what a story, or what a great film", too many cliches and things heard and seen HUNDREDS of times. If you read the synopsis, you already know pretty much everything.
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One of the most important films ever made
scottsteven22128 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I don't want to give anything away, subject matter aside, the story telling of this film is masterful. the screen writing and direction rival any story teller ever. i'm sure this film will be applauded by the people brave enough to watch it. it reminds me of Schindler's list, haunting images you need to see to fully grasp.

this film brings so much to light, victims are bright children, from well to do homes, with well meaning parents. how the child is preyed upon. how she was being manipulated and is unaware of the conspiracy she been coached into. not all rapist hide in the dark, we interact with them everyday and don't know it.

the acting was very interesting to watch. very compelling to watch normal pleasant faced people telling the most disturbing tale. Laura Dern's confrontation scene at the end of the film, the quiet, scattered, breathless performance was so believable, it came off as a REAL reaction. i curious to know her thoughts and preparation for that scene.
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Fine Exploration of a Very Difficult Subject
david-greene531 May 2018
This film is an important, serious treatment of the all-too-prevalent subject of child sexual abuse. It will require close concentration by the viewer as it works its way into the heart of a repressed memory. All the performances were spot-on perfect. Particularly noteworthy is the poignant, striking, brief performance. by John Heard.
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Tragically Artistically Accurate
klee-6551618 June 2018
This film did a wonderful job depicting what it's like to uncover childhood trauma as an adult. I love how she went back and forth between child and adult, starting with an idyllic memory and slowly realizing her prior understanding of her experience was faulty. I also loved how she occasionally asked the younger versions of people in her memory questions as an adult, holding a make-believe dialogue. Connection to her younger self was made clear in this film, an important aspect when considering childhood memories - distant but deeply felt. What an honest, artistic expression of one woman's experience with childhood trauma. Very (painfully but satisfactorily) relatable for people with a similar history.
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Amazingly Heartbreaking
BoredNow335 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Wow. Not an easy movie to watch at all. But it is such a necessary movie to watch for survivors of this type of situation. I also did not want to admit I had been a victim. I wanted to feel it was a consensual act. Looking back on my childhood as an adult makes me sick. Thinking about the older men who showed interest in me when I was 12, 13, 14... When I was that age, I was flattered. An older man liked me and paid attention to me. Now as an adult, I can't imagine looking at a child in such a way. The fact that Jennifer Fox was willing to share her experience this openly is amazing. I don't know that I could expose myself that way. There was a large lump in my chest the whole movie and I was definitely moved to tears and spent a lot of time reflecting on some of my experiences as a child afterwards, but the fact that the predator was such an attractive and nice person outwardly needed to be conveyed as they usually have greasy hair or are balding and are easy for the viewer to identify as untrustworthy. Is it a movie one would need to watch over and over? No. But it is definitely worth one watch. If for nothing more than Isabelle Nélisse. She is an amazing young actress and I can't wait to see her in future movies.
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A Powerful Film
annmaffeofuria28 May 2018
While difficult to watch, this film should be seen by all young adults The performances are uniformly perfect and the message is all the more influential because it is true. There will be awards in this film's future especially for Laura Dern.
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Powerful and unique, with a great turn by Laura Dern
Red_Identity29 May 2018
What a unique, powerful film. I wasn't sure what to think of its structure at first, but it was completely necessary the way it was to tell this story. Laura Dern is predictably fantastic. However, it's not flawless. The last five minutes were very abrupt and I felt like the film needed to breathe more before it officially ended.
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