Directed By: David Schwimmer
Written By: Andy Bellin, Robert Festinger
Produced By: Ed Cathell III, Dana Golomb, Robert Greenhut, Tom Hodges, Avi Lerner, Heidi Jo Markel, David Schwimmer
Cast: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato, Viola Davis, Tristan Peach
MPAA Rating: NR
Runtime: 97 minutes
Release Date: September 10, 2010 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Review Date: November 2, 2010
This year, we have seen movies take a shift into a new topic: The online realm. From Catfish to The Social Network, movies are talking about what everyone else on the planet is talking with: Facebook, Gchat, Twitter, iChat, et cetera.
Trust touches on this theme once the high school freshman Annie Cameron (Liana Liberato) meets Charlie, a high school volleyball player from California, in a chat room. Charlie and Annie begin sharing photos, texts, tips on how Annie can make the team, et cetera. Annie, like so many young girls, begins quite an infatuation with Charlie. She then learns he lied about his age. He’s really a 20-year-old. Then he lies again. He’s really a 25-year-old. And guess what? He lied again.
Eventually, the two meet up and this much-older-than-believed Charlie sexually assaults Annie, which comes to light when Annie’s friend tells the school principal. Annie’s parents, Will (Clive Owen) and Lynn (Catherine Keener) are sent spiraling after learning about this revelation, like many parents would. Immediately, they question the trust in their daughter and in themselves as parents as they truly believe they should have seen that this happened.
What makes the film so moving is Annie’s continued desire to protect Charlie. It bewilders her parents and it will make you wonder too. In a pivotal scene in the counselor’s office (played by a superb Viola Davis), you see Annie move from denial to acceptance, which will move you to tears.
Owen is phenomenal in his acting as the father who couldn’t protect his daughter. He will have you thinking he has lived through this trauma as his screen time is raw and mesmerizing. And Liberato acts in a very heavy topic without falter.
Looking back on this film, it’s easy for people to say things like “Why did she have a computer in her room?” or “I would never let her talk with someone whom she didn’t know.” But when chat rooms first hit the scene, no one was thinking about these things, but rather, how cool it was to “meet” someone from another part of the country. The film will wake up the generation who grew up on the Internet much like Catfish does. Clearly we need to be more careful who we’re trusting these days. And we can trust David Schwimmer to perfectly portray this theme.
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.