A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tru Confessions is a made-for-TV Disney movie that tugs on the heartstrings despite a hard-to-like lead character. Tru (Clara Bryant) is a self-absorbed teen with a developmental disabled twin brother, Eddie -- brilliantly played by a young Shia LaBeouf. The overall message is positive -- that we should love one another despite our differences -- but it is diluted by Tru's stroppy attitude, contempt for her parents, and focus on self-promotion. All these conflicting emotions will be challenging for sensitive kids to handle and there are some heart-wrenching moments watching Eddie struggle to understand different situations. There is also some bullying of Eddie -- a group of kids spit in his baseball cap and he is called "retard." Although in some ways this feels like an honest portrayal of life for a family with a disabled child, it's a shame that the abiding tone is one of negativity.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Tru Confessions is not only based on a book, but it's also heartwarming and more to spread tears about.
What's the story?
TRU CONFESSIONS follows the story of young teenager Tru (Clara Bryant) and her twin brother Eddie (Shia LaBeouf) who has a developmental disability. Tru wants to become a broadcast journalist and when the opportunity arises to enter a competition with a local TV channel she grabs it, deciding to make a documentary about Eddie. As she puts together her film, she is forced to examine her life and relationships, gradually beginning to appreciate how she feels about her parents, her brother, and the different ways in which they each cope with family life.
Is it any good?
LaBeouf is the shining star in this made-for-TV Disney movie from 2002, playing developmentally-disabled teen Eddie with warmth and authenticity. This tender performance is the movie's saving grace, although -- be warned -- it's also the source of several tear-jerking moments. As his twin sister Tru, Bryant puts in a solid performance, but unfortunately her character is so irritating it's difficult to warm to her. She's rude to her Mom, blames her Dad for working too hard, and loses her temper with her brother.
Perhaps Tru Confessions is meant to give an insight into the challenges of growing up with a disabled sibling, but her endless navel gazing, obsession with filming herself, and lack of appreciation for her comfortable home and loving family make Tru the kind of person you just can't feel sorry for. It's not all misery and self pity -- we see the loving bond between the siblings, and Tru does just about redeem herself by the end. But the constant flow of negative emotion prevents this well-intended story from bringing any real joy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how disability is portrayed in Tru Confessions. How are people with disabilities or who are "different" usually treated in TV and movies? Do you think movies do a good job of representing people with disabilities? Do you know anyone with a disability who has a story you'd like to see in a movie or on TV?
Discuss the relationship between Tru and Eddie. What role does Tru play in Eddie's life? Do you know anyone who is a young carer? What responsibilities do young carers have? How can this role be a positive experience as well as a challenge?
Talk to your kids about the benefits of writing a diary or making a video diary. How does it provide an opportunity to express yourself and make sense of your thoughts and feelings?
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