Take a Drink: for text flying onscreen
Take a Drink: whenever you imagine Ross behind the camera
Take a Drink: for daydreams
Take a Drink: whenever parents express a worry
Take a Drink: whenever a kid justifies it by blowing past red flags
Do a Shot: whenever your skin crawls
By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
Back in 2010, Ross from Friends directed a harrowing family drama with an A-list cast and it ended up being one of Roger Ebert’s few favorite films of the year. And yet, nobody saw it apparently, certainly not awards voters.
That’s so Ross!
Trust is about an entirely normal, loving family which is rocked to the core when its thirteen year old daughter begins an online relationship with a boy who isn’t who he appears to be.
The key element in that description is “normal”. Debut director David Schwimmer and screenwriters Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger establish a realistic, authentic, even familiar-feeling environment populated by real human beings, be they played by newcomers like Liana Liberato or familiar faces like Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, or Jason Clarke. The quality of acting across the board is stellar, but even more impressive is Schwimmer’s perceptiveness and control.
Here’s another silly picture of Ross, before things get dark.
Trust is fucking horrifying and unbearably tense. You’ll yell at the screen for damn sure, but Schwimmer doesn’t resort to shock tactics or cheap thrills. This movie is incredible because it’s so tragically credible, from the way that an intelligent, well-raised, but just young girl can be so easily manipulated to how small miscommunications and how people respond in different ways to adversity can form a great gulf between them.
That Schwimmer is able to accomplish this his first time out, while walking the fishing line-thin line of a subject matter that could veer preachy or exploitative with the slightest misstep shows a serious talent. He also wisely keeps the focus on his actors, although he does employ a few nice filmmaking touches and some utterly unsettling dream sequences.
Now I have dildos in my nightmares- Thanks Ross!
The performances that he elicits are across the board excellent, with Clive Owen and Catherine Keener playing Liana Liberato’s parents as two people equally confused about how to deal with an impossible situation. Keener tries to be as empathetic as possible, but can’t quite understand, and perhaps resents her husband for his more typically masculine response of rage and revenge. Both are equally helpless, and begin to recognize and express this in subtle (and subtly unsubtle) and affecting ways.
The standouts are Chris Henry Coffey and Liberato, though. Coffey is slimy, disgusting, and too, too, too realistic playing an online predator. He’s a force of nature in the film, and his credits teaser burned itself into my poor brain. Move over Freddie Krueger, you’ve got nothing on this bastard.
Freddie’s not getting away with posing as anybody’s science teacher
Liberato has the toughest role of all, though. She’s a teenage girl playing a teenage girl going through something that no teenage girl should ever have to go through. She’s entirely convincing, though, portraying a complex mix of emotions and feelings in a way I’ve never seen before. She’s vulnerable, defensive, hopeful, and disillusioned in turn, and that only scratches the surface of everything the role demands of her. It’s a performance that would be a highlight on the resume of even fully seasoned Oscar winners, and which is simply essential for the success of Trust.
From now on, my mind won’t go to Friends when I hear the name of David Schwimmer, but to this powerhouse film which heralds the arrival of some exciting new directorial and acting talents. Now excuse me while I go watch Hard Candy for a little cathartic release.
Stick around the credits for another chilling (family) home video from Charlie.