Trust Me

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Trust Me Movie Poster Image
Interesting characters almost keep not-great movie afloat.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This is a very cynical movie, and the one character who seems to care and wants to try to help others is continually backstabbed and betrayed. The movie seems to say that you need to be tricky and hard to succeed, and if you're not, then don't bother.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Howard Holloway, though not successful, is still somewhat admirable. Aside from some questionable behavior, he genuinely seems to care about the well-being of his young clients, and in one case he even decides to give up a sure-fire deal to do the right thing.

Violence

A man is shot in the stomach, and blood is shown seeping from the wound. There's a suggestion of a father sexually abusing his teen daughter, though nothing is shown or proven. A man gets a bloody nose during a minor car crash. A drunken, violent man threatens other characters in more than one scene.

Sex

A man and a woman kiss passionately. Also plenty of innuendo and references to sex: a woman is referred to as a "MILF"; a character references a special "night together," and the woman responds that she was drunk; a character references a young actress' "breast buds"; a "topless car wash" is referred to; while on the phone, a character uses the phrase "he's going to give it to me hard."

Language

Language is very strong and colorful, including "f--k" and "s--t" in various permutations, as well as "c---sucker," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "bastard," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "douche," and "balls." A character says "son of a ---" but doesn't finish. Middle finger gestures are shown. A young boy calls a man an "a--hole" and uses a middle finger gesture.

Consumerism

Trader Joe's is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character drinks from time to time, either socially or to unwind (vodka, wine, etc.). A secondary character is shown to be something of a habitual drunk; he appears drunk, belligerent, and threatening in more than one scene. He explains about how, because he was drunk one night, he failed to perform an important task.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Trust Me is an indie dramedy about teen actors in Hollywood that was written and directed by Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Clark Gregg. It has some very dark moments, including a gunshot to the stomach (with pooling blood) and a suggestion of the sexual abuse of a teen girl by her father. Language is very strong, including frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as plenty of other words. The main character drinks alcohol in more than one scene, and a supporting character is shown to be a habitual (and dangerous) drinker. There's some sexual innuendo and kissing, but nothing too intense. Since a teen girl is one of the main characters, the movie raises issues of teens working in movies, relationships with parents and agents, and the general backstabbing, corrupting atmosphere of the movie business. It will likely give viewers 16 and up something to discuss.

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What's the story?

Hollywood agent Howard Holloway (Clark Gregg) specializes in representing child actors; his own past as a failed child actor gives him a special touch. The trouble is that Howard just isn't lucky enough, savvy enough, or savage enough to play with the Hollywood heavyweights. After losing his latest client, he meets 13-year-old Lydia (Saxon Sharbino), and before he knows it, he's handling her casting in a multimillion-dollar Ang Lee-directed teen vampire franchise. At the same time, Howard gets the nerve to ask out his pretty neighbor (Amanda Peet), and things seem to be going well at last. But try as he can to hold everything together, his rival, Aldo Shocklee (Sam Rockwell), and various outside forces seem to conspire against him.

Is it any good?

Not all of the movie works, but the middle section (the majority of the movie) is an affecting character study. It explores the down-but-not-quite-out Howard, touching upon the small moments of victory that he's spent his life trying to recapture. Lydia is also an interesting character, clearly trying to make up for loss and pain in her young life, and the two make an interesting pair. Co-stars like Rockwell and Allison Janney, despite their great talent, can only play backstabbing Hollywood villains, but Peet is adorable as the spunky girl next door.

Gregg, who's best known for his recurring role as Agent Coulson in the Avengers series, made his directorial debut with 2008's twisted Choke. TRUST ME is his follow-up, and it's inherently sweeter and more wounded -- but, as if in an effort to join the two films, it seems forced into much darker territory in its final act. Gregg provides a prologue to foreshadow it, but it still doesn't quite fit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Trust Me's messages. Do you consider it a comedy? What makes some of it funny as opposed to serious? Do the serious moments detract from the humor?

  • Is Lydia a role model for teen girls?

  • How does Lydia's body image reflect reality? Is she too sexy too soon?

  • Does the movie make Hollywood look like a good place to work? Are the rewards worth the struggle?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky movies

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