Trust Fund

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Trust Fund Movie Poster Image
Lightweight drama lacks logic and depth.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 107 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes taking responsibility for oneself, learning lessons taught by experience, and appreciation for family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Unsympathetic heroine finds her heart as she comes of age; acquires empathy, integrity, gratitude, and positive impacts of hard work. She never suffers consequences of her past behavior. Father is sensitive, loving, wise, and constructive; doesn't make sure daughter pays price for her bad decisions. Some ethnic diversity.


One mildly suspenseful scene during which heroine escapes from a bad situation on a train. 


Kissing and embracing. One early morning scene makes it clear that an unmarried couple has spent the night together.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. Cigar smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Trust Fund is a drama about a young woman who learns a great deal about responsibility, maturity, and integrity. Reese Donahue, though talented and very rich, makes mistakes that threaten her well-being and her family relationships. For forgiveness, she must rely on that family and her own efforts to make amends. Kisses and embraces along with the presumption that Reese has slept with a man she cares about are the only sexual moments in the movie. Adults drink in social situations; cigar smoking is shown. One suspenseful scene occurs in which the heroine is in mild jeopardy. OK for mature tweens and up.

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What's the story?

Reese Donahue (Jessica Rothe) is a young woman who seemingly has everything in TRUST FUND. She's beautiful and very rich, she has a loving family, and her first novel is ready for publication. Despite that, her immaturity is leading her to self-destruct. She has little interest in the powerful publishing house her parents established, manipulates her loving dad (Kevin Kilner), and can't get along with her successful but disapproving older sister (Louise Dylan). When she surreptitiously discovers a trust set up by her deceased mom, Reese sees that as her way out. She secretly arranges to withdraw her share of the fund, then makes her way to Italy to reunite with a man with whom she's had a short-lived but intense vacation romance. Unfortunately, events turn dark in Italy. Reese's vulnerability and carelessness make her the perfect pawn in a criminal game. Her return home, grateful and sorry, gives her a second chance, but her earlier mistakes threaten to prevent a happy ending.

Is it any good?

Sandra L. Martin's efficient direction and some lovely visuals are wasted in an uninspired story that relies on coincidence and gives short shrift to both character and logic. Fortuitous encounters (especially with a ludicrous private investigator) and unlucky timing that leads to a romantic misunderstanding are simply devices to keep the story moving where it needs to go. Nothing about Reese suggests that she might be a fine writer -- she's too shallow and selfish and chooses to live an unexamined life.

Still, there's nothing offensive about Trust Fund -- no swearing, sex, or violence. Jessica Rothe does her best with the material; as Reese, she's likable and vibrant. Kevin Kilner stands out for his sincere performance as Reese's dad. Overall it's OK, but there are more inspired dramas out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Reese and her dad in Trust Fund. How did it change over the course of the movie? In what ways was Grayson a good dad? Did his belief in her ultimately feel warranted?  

  • How did Reese's immature behavior affect both her personal and professional lives? What consequences did she pay for the bad choices she made? Do you think her punishment fit the crime? Why or why not?

  • Think about Reese's relationship with Sam. Which scenes showed their growing attraction? Were there enough moments between them to justify the strength of their feelings? Why or why not? Why does a story work better if an audience invests in a couple's commitment and understands exactly what they love about one another? 

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