Trust (2011)

by George Watches Things

****

Annie is just your average girl. The movie doesn’t have to feed us examples of this, thanks to the performances (especially Liana Liberato as Annie and Clive Owen as Will, her father). She just turned 15, and she got a cool new laptop to go along with her cool new phone. She’s giving the life.

That is, until she meets a “boy” named Charlie online. At first, he tells her he’s 16, but that soon become 20, then 25… do you see where this is going? Charlie asks to meet Annie, and when they do, we discover what we’ve known all along: he’s at least 35. At first, Annie is shocked, and Charlie has to try his hardest to calm her down. The movie somehow maintains suspense during all of this, even though it is thoroughly predictable.

There are two scenes that take place within a car; one setting up a comparison drawn in the second. The first involves Annie buying a bra, and talking to her mother about it. It’s light and shows that Annie’s mother truly cares about her. The other is with Charlie, and it is just awful. I can’t count the number of times I said “ugh” to something Charlie did or said in this movie.

I should have explained: Annie goes to lunch with Charlie, then gets in his car. He takes her exactly where you think.

The hotel scene is very creepy. The room is tight and claustrophobic. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a part of filming that. The film adds another layer of creepy by showing a videotape, obviously made by Charlie. (During the credits, they show another tape of his; he is with his family at a fair. I don’t want to call it great, because of the subject matter, but the film gets a lot of things right.) That’s when he violates her.

Trust is one of the most tragic films I have ever seen. Early on in the movie, a middle-aged business partner of Will’s hits on a 19-year-old waitress. (You can see where the film was going with that.) Annie saying “we’re in love” gave me such a chill. “I don’t want to lie to him,” she later says. She also repeated refers to Charlie as her boyfriend. The film has tragic quotes such as these sprinkled throughout. And Annie doesn’t know who she can trust. She just wants her blanket. She’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. She’s seen a lot of betrayal. The house Annie’s family lives in has a security system, something referenced and shown numerous times just for the sad irony.

Meanwhile, Will becomes obsessed with killing “Charlie.” He goes as far as posing at a teenage girl online in order to find him. Owen plays it perfectly… walking the line between caring and crazy with his character.

“I had a dream… I found him… I could taste his blood. I woke up. I had bitten my own lip. It was my own blood.”

Will becomes self-destructive in his search for Charlie. He’s acquired so much anger and hate, it becomes a struggle for him to live his life. This movie hit me where it hurts.

Late in the movie, the plot gets stuck in replay, however. It explores things it has already explored. The movie just kept piling on unnecessarily. These people had to go through one thing after the other. Every little glimmer of hope was squashed by another misfortune. I’m glad that it ended on a hopeful note, though.

Trust is a tragically emotional film that is a must see. And even though it is beautiful, I’m not sure I’ll ever revisit it.

Notes:

  • Clive Owen bawling didn’t do much for me. The words were important and powerful, but the way he looked when he spoke them wasn’t.
  • Annie’s has a little sister, which the movie could have used better.
  • This movie doesn’t blame Annie for some of her clumsier actions. It’s like her parents; it loves and supports her.
  • Thanks to Roger Ebert for mentioning it on At the Movies. I would never have looked it up without it.
  • Speaking of which, you can find Trust on Netflix Instant.
  • If you see and find beauty in Trust, you might also want to check out Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Fearless.
  • Coming soon: the best films of the year so far.
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