Trust

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Trust Movie Poster Image
Online predator targets teen in mature, creepy drama.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 106 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Functioning as a cautionary tale, this film emphasizes the need for parents to provide clear sexual guidelines for their children. It stresses the importance of open communication with teens and the dangers of unsupervised Internet access. Underlying these messages is the film's frank portrayal of a highly sexualized culture that encourages teen sexual activity well before kids are ready and mature enough to make wise decisions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The parents in this film are introduced as loving, intelligent, and mostly responsible. Their parenting skills are tested, and they find that they're unprepared for the crisis that they and their daughter must endure. Throughout the course of the film, they mature as parents and become vitally aware of  the limitations of "trust" -- as well as its value. Many of the teen characters are depicted as sexually preoccupied and desperate for love and acceptance -- with grave results. Law enforcement, as well as mental health workers, are portrayed as effective, supportive, and thorough in their efforts to help.

Violence

In a series of nightmarish fantasies, a father first imagines his daughter as the victim of a vicious rape and then visualizes himself taking revenge on the unidentified predator, beating him violently with his fists and threatening him with a gun to the head. The same father loses control and brutally attacks a man at a high school volleyball game.

Sex

Sexuality is pervasive, both in dialogue and action. An adult-with-minor sex act, while not depicted as violent, is still rape, and the scene is both extended and disturbing. The community, including teens, is portrayed as highly sexual, with provocative advertising and room decor, overt seductive behavior, revealing clothing, explicit language, and some nudity (bare-breasted women). There are also graphically erotic text messages (read aloud) and telephone conversations. The only "positive" sexual scene shows loving foreplay between a fully clothed husband and wife.

Language

Frequent, strong swearing, including many uses and forms of "f--k," "ass," "s--t," "whore," screwed," "blow job," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "bitch," and more. A police report that includes graphic language about rape and its aftermath is shown in close-up.

Consumerism

Apple computers, MacBook Pro, Mizuno, Discount Shoe Warehouse, Talbot's, and references to Family Watchdog and ASK websites.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking is shown in a number of social settings: wine at family dinners, at a business event, and with restaurant meals. Underage drinking takes place at an unchaperoned teen house party. A young teen attempts suicide with prescription drugs found in a family medicine chest.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature film about an online predator who targets unsuspecting teens is often disturbing to watch but could spark extremely important conversations between parents and teens about Internet safety. The predator's "grooming" and seduction of a 14-year-old girl are explicitly drawn, and the damage inflicted upon the girl and her family by the assault and its aftermath is intense and disturbing. Many scenes include sexual dialogue -- in conversation, in text message form, and on the phone -- and the community in which the story is set is portrayed as highly sexualized, essentially encouraging early sexual activity. There are violent fantasies in which the girl's father imagines a brutal attack on his daughter and projects his own revenge on the villain using fists and a gun. Language includes: "f--k," "s--t," "whore," "blow job," and more. Characters, including teens, drink in social situations, and there's a suicide attempt using prescription drugs.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykhan2705 June 15, 2011

compelling and creepy drama with some flaws but watchable.

2.5/5 A family is devastated by a crime committed against a teenage girl in this drama. Annie (Liana Liberato) is 14 years old and growing up in a suburb of Ch... Continue reading
Adult Written bySweetLisa August 12, 2011

Nudity within the first ten minutes.

I've only started watching it, and it is compelling and thought provoking, and seems like a good movie with a lesson to be learned, however--there is a sce... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 17, 2011

very mature movie is not for kids

this mature film about an online predator who targets unsuspecting teens is often disturbing to watch but could spark extremely important conversations between... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byrandomgirl12 March 1, 2013

A much better movie than what the critics say

In simple words- it is stupid how this movie is R-rated when it's the most realistic it could ever get. that's what we need to really show the preteen... Continue reading

What's the story?

Fourteen-year-old Annie Cameron (Liana Liberato) is charmed and intrigued by "Charlie," a bright, funny teen she meets in an online chat room. As their texting and phone calls become more intense, Annie shields her parents from both Charlie's "forgivable" lies and the growing sexuality in their relationship. Then, a secretive meeting reveals that Charlie is, in fact, an adult -- who proceeds to lead the reluctant but still trusting Annie to a motel, where he takes advantage of her inexperience and has "quasi-consensual" sex with her. When Annie's concerned best friend realizes what's happened and confides in a school official, Annie's parents (Catherine Keener and Clive Owen) and the authorities are notified. The Camerons are horrified -- they're wracked with guilt for not having protected their child and devastated for her. Annie, still in Charlie's thrall, is furious. As disappointing efforts are made to heal Annie and find the predator, the family members become increasingly unstable and at odds with one another.

Is it any good?

Difficult subject matter is handled here with intelligence, restraint, and an effort to avoid trite resolutions and cliched characters. Director David Schwimmer, along with the writers and superb actors (particularly Liberato in a very challenging role), has created an unsettling, often creepy story that serves as a cautionary tale for parents.

The content is definitely on the mature side for teens, but those who do watch (along with their parents) are likely to come away with an important lesson about the importance of online safety. Parents can take that opportunity to emphasize the need for both privacy and skepticism when it comes to the Internet -- we have plenty of tips for talking about both in our Internet Safety Advice area.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how teens can stay safe online. Why is it so important to protect your privacy? What happens when you share information about yourself on the Web?

  • What are the dangers of online anonymity? Does your family use any tools to lessen the risk of being exploited or abused via the Internet?

  • Teens: If you found out that someone you knew had an experience like Annie's, what would you do? Do you think it was handled correctly in the movie? What are your options in a situation like this?

  • How did Annie feel about herself after the assault? What finally made her face the truth?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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