After teen-aged Annie (Liana Liberato) gets a new laptop for her 14th birthday from her parents, she takes chatting with her online friend Charlie to the next level with constant instant messaging, texting and even talking frequently on the phone. When he reveals that he is slightly older than he originally said, she is upset, but still has feelings for him so she accepts an offer to meet him. When she does meet him, Annie is coerced into a sexual encounter with him and afterwards her whole demeanor changes. The remainder of the movie plays out from the consequences of that night.
Director David Schwimmer has been a part of “The Rape Foundation” for more than 14 years now and has personally seen the destruction it can have on a child and its family. Taking a few different accounts of what he has heard and blending them into one story, he has created one of the most honest and shocking portrayals of rape and what it can do to the psychology of a family dealing with it. “Trust” is as much about the fallout and explosion of this family’s dynamic as it is about the actual event and its impact on Annie. He portrays Annie as being a good girl — innocent and hopeful — and the movie shows how she changes when her innocence is taken away from her.
The cast as a whole delivers wildly impressive scenes of raw emotion filled with anger, guilt, frustration and pain. Liana delivers such a strong and poignant message to teens and parents everywhere with her performance as Annie. She shows that a girl that young is not capable to cope with the tidal wave of emotions that comes along with a trauma like this. Clive Owen, as Annie’s dad Will, gives a powerful performance as he becomes obsessed with the investigation and wants retribution and revenge towards the man who took his daughter’s innocence. Catherine Keener plays a mother who is more interested in helping her daughter cope and move on from this situation than she is with revenge. The difference between the two parents is realistic in how everyone deals with this differently.
The supporting cast was fantastic. Viola Davis is strong and trustworthy as she tries to help Annie cope by talking about what happened. You can see the sincere caring in her interactions with Annie. Jason Clarke plays the detective in charge of the investigation and you can see his frustrations in the pure percentage of how many of these predators that they actually catch. The film also stars Noah Emmerich, Spencer Curnutt, Zanny Laird and Noah Crawford.
Overall, this film is a chilling realization of the ease with which an online predator can get to the youth of America. With technology pushing forward at the speed of light, adults in general — and parents — are relying on their kids to be responsible, but we must remember, they are just kids. I really do hope parents see this film and see how easily even the more innocent and kind-hearted can be tricked into dangerous situations if there isn’t a dialogue established between the parents and the child dealing with these kinds of situations.
“Trust” is open in limited release now and is rated R.
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