Yup, it’s settled. Never getting my kid a cell phone, a computer, a carrier pigeon, or anything that would allow them to communicate with the outside world. Thanks a lot, NAMBLA.
Trust is about a 14-year-old girl who strikes up an online friendship with a 16-year-old boy after her parents get her a fancy new laptop for her birthday. Eventually things start heating up, they get together to meet in person for the first time, and it turns out that he’s actually a 35-year-old man. For some reason, the girl finds it in her to look past the age difference, hangs out with him for a day, and winds up getting raped by the dude in a hotel. Eventually her parents find out about it, she starts taking the pedophile’s side instead of, you know, not taking his side, and the whole thing tears the family apart.
It’s the sophomore directorial effort by good ol’ David Schwimmer, and what a way to switch gears after kicking off this new chapter in his life with Run, Fatboy, Run. Definitely lacking in the comedic department this time around, then again, I didn’t exactly hear great things about Fatboy and this might be a step in the right direction for him. Not much else to say on the matter since there’s nothing all that noteworthy about what he does behind the camera, but hey, Ross Geller’s directing again. Neat!
Anyway, if you’ve seen Little Children or Hard Candy in particular, you can probably guess to a tee how the first Act of this movie plays out. Well, if you read the synopsis, that’s exactly how it plays out, but trust me, I’m not spoiling anything for ya’ and you probably could have guessed as much from the poster. And while seeing it coming from a mile away is bad enough, the biggest drawback of this whole damn movie is how infuriated I got by watching it all go down.
On the one hand, this is very realistic in the sense that there’s a reason To Catch a Predator ran for so many seasons. The fact of the matter is that there are some effed up dudes out there who rope in 14-year-old girls through the powers of instant messaging and there are 14-year-old girls that absolutely get taken in by them. So the scenario is believable, but on the other hand, there’s our 14-year-old victim, Annie. My issue with Annie is that I just can’t freaking believe how gullible this girl is. Alright, some red flags should have gone up when the kid she was talking to revealed that he’s not a sophomore in high school but rather a sophomore in college, but I guess I can let that go. But the next two times he widens the age gap by five years, you block that mofo and get a new MacBook, stat; and when you see him in the mall and he’s older than your dad, you run the fuck away, get the fuzz on speed dial, and start flirting with all the horny boys in homeroom like everyone else.
The fact that she somehow ends up modeling the lingerie he bought for her in a hotel room and then winds up with a mean case of Stockholm syndrome to boot is simply beyond me. Again, I’m sure it happens, but it’s infinitely sad and frustrating to watch this girl chug the Kool-Aid when neon signs should be popping up in every inch of her being with the words “THIS DUDE WILL RAPE YOU” flashing like wildfire. Granted, I’m no expert on the teen-girl-going-through-puberty subject, so my opinion only holds so much weight, but, come on, I like to think that she would have a better head on her shoulders than that. Also wasn’t a big fan of her character aside from her horrendous decision-making skills, probably because I have zero tolerance for anyone who texts more than they talk to people in real life. Hated having to experience her whole courtship with her future rapist via emoticons and LOLs.
And the script ain’t much help either. Just tons of little touches that betray everyday common sense for the sake of brewing up drama for yet another screaming match that could have been easily avoided. For instance: Clive Owen walks into his daughter’s room while she’s sleeping, he turns on her iPhone to see if she’s been contacting the pederast, then puts the phone down right next to her head, doesn’t turn it off for some reason before leaving the room, then she wakes up five minutes later, sees the phone has magically turned itself on, and she now has one more thing to yell at him about. Just turn off the fucking phone, man. The button’s right there on the top, you can’t miss it and you probably have one yourself. Ugh, tack that on to a handful of other instances that all start and end the same way and you’ve got what could have been a perfectly credible family drama turned into a mess of idiotically structured, blatantly manufactured Hollywood temper tantrums. Lame.
But it does get better.
The good thing about this plot is that it eventually focuses more on the way Annie’s parents, mainly her father, deal with the whole situation. It’s interesting because that’s the one approach I haven’t really seen before in a movie that deals with this kind of subject…well, as long as you don’t count In the Bedroom since that revolves around a different kind of family tragedy (but you totally could count it and it would blow this out of the water). Nevertheless, Clive Owen and Catherine Keener do a great job as Annie’s parents and if it weren’t for their presence to balance out how much I couldn’t stand Annie, this probably would have been a 3 and they were this close to bumping it up to a 5. Strange how what they’re going through was so much more interesting than anything their daughter was processing. And I wish I could say the same about newcomer Liana Liberato as Annie, but it’s just one of those instances where a character is so aggravating that I feel the same way about the actor just by association.
I don’t know, gang. Trust does have its merits and I dug how the spotlight ultimately shifts towards the parents, but all that good stuff unfortunately came around far too late to overshadow all the shit with Annie that drove me crazy. There are much better movies out there that deal with a lot of the same issues that this brings up, and while I’m sure this would hit home in a far greater way for anyone that’s ever had to go through this (God forbid) than it did for me, there just wasn’t enough to set this apart.
Stupid ending, too. Totally unnecessary and a weak swan song for the story line. A whole lot of potential flushed down the crapper for the sake of semi-scaring all the parents in the theater. Again, lame.