AWFJ Women On Film – “Trust” – Susan Granger reviews

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Chilling, compelling and devastating, this cautionary tale is so realistic and so provocative that it should be ‘must’ viewing for families with teenagers.

When 14 year-old Annie Cameron (Liana Liberato) makes a new friend online – a 16 year-old California boy named Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey) – whom she met in a volleyball chat room, she discovers a cohort, an ally against the snobby New Trier High School girls who occasionally torment her and a knowledgeable ‘coach’ who advises her how make the volleyball squad. After a couple of months of Internet intimacy, Charlie says he’s coming to Chicago to meet her, confessing he’s a bit older, a grad student. Suspicious yet savvy, Annie agrees to meet him at the mall, only to discover he’s middle-aged and far from what she imagined. Adroitly appealing to her adolescent insecurities and deceptively manipulating need for approval, he maneuvers her into his car and they check into a motel, where she agrees to have sex with him.

Afterwards, when Annie confides to a girlfriend, she discovers she’s considered a rape victim and the FBI is called in. Persistently defending her ‘soulmate’ Charlie not only to the police but also to therapist (Viola Davis), it isn’t until Annie realizes she’s only one of his many seductions that she finally seeks help she needs. Meanwhile, her anguished father (Clive Owens) is determined to find the predator and wreak revenge, as her mother (Catherine Keener) tries to make sense of how their beloved daughter fell prey to an experienced sex offender within the seeming security of ‘normal’ suburbia.

As a Board member of the Rape Foundation in Santa Monica, California, director David Schwimmer (“Friends”) and screenwriters Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger maintain respectful reverence for vulnerable young girls, and the daring plot twist of having Annie both consensual and compliant with a blasé attitude about sex lends a far deeper poignancy.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Trust” is a compassionate, engaging, intense 8, an advocacy challenge for teenagers and their parents, prompting instructive dialogue about internet safety.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.