Movies about "tough subjects" can be a chore to watch. You feel like you're supposed to learn something at the end, or else you get sucked into a maudlin cryfest that feels like a Lifetime Movie Special. But I recently saw a movie that dealt with some serious girlhood issues but wasn't preachy, unrealistic or sugar-coated, and I'd like to recommend it.
Trust is about Annie, a 14 year-old girl from a loving, stable family who goes through the many insecurities of teenage life: wanting to be accepted, feeling misunderstood by parents, and learning to cope with change. But instead of confiding in friends, Annie starts talking to a boy she meets online, who seems to get her and listens when she's lonely. This boy seems nice at first, until he reveals that he's actually older she initially thought. When Annie finally agrees to meet this boy, she discovers he’s actually a man in his thirties. She gets upset at first, but this man wins her over by telling her she's intelligent and pretty. He charms her so well that she agrees to go to a hotel with him, where he rapes her and then disappears out of her life.
Annie is reluctant to tell anyone about what happened, but eventually the police are notified and the FBI gets involved, pulling her whole family into an investigation that is never fully resolved. Through all this Annie has to deal the ramifications of this crime on her social and personal life.
One of the interesting aspects of this movie is that it dwells on the culture in which men feel they can pursue sex with girls. Throughout the movie, Annie's father is seen working on an advertising account featuring barely legal models posing in very little clothing, and in one scene we see a colleague talking about what’s he'd like to do with a 19 year-old waitress. Though Annie's rapist is clearly a predator, the society we live in is all too eager to sexualize women just a few years older than Annie.
Though it's not at all an escapist popcorn movie, I would urge you to see this movie if you're interested in the welfare of girls. It’s important for everyone to know just what girls can encounter in their lives, and how we as advocates can help them.
Girl Museum Inc.