Trust (Review)

Powerful drama looks at the issue of online predators

David Schwimmer's sophomore effort as a director is a tour de force of socially relevant dramatic filmmaking. Clearly a labor of love for Schwimmer and his outstanding ensemble, Trust comes at you from all angles.

Gifted newcomer Liana Liberato performance as 14-year-old Annie Cameron is nothing short of astonishing. Annie lives a comfortable life in suburban Michigan with a loving family. Father Will (Clive Owen) and mom Lynn (Catherine Keener) are involved in every aspect of their three children's lives. Their son is excited about going off to college. Annie carries on constant text conversations with a Charlie, a 16-year-old boy in California who gives her training advice to help her volleyball game.

We read snippets of their exchanges as enlarged subtitles that interrupt the story just as it would in real life. It's a daring cinematic device that Schwimmer artfully deploys to put us in the mind of a young girl experimenting with romance.

But all is not what it seems. Charlie isn't 16. The moment when the sexual predator who calls himself "Charlie" meets Annie inside a shopping mall hits like a ton of bricks. What follows shatters Annie's innocence and her family's emotional core. There's no guidebook for how such a delicate issue as pedophile rape should be handled in a film.

Screenwriters Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger have inculcated the story with a credible assessment of the ways burgeoning online-predator issue claims its victims. Moreover, Trust is an honest look at the land-mine-laden road to recovery that victims and their families must go through. This is one very powerful film. Its potential as an educational tool is also unmistakable. Grade: A

Opens April 22. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.
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