Directed by David Schwimmer
Trust, an after-school special with name actors and something of a budget, is a movie about online predators, directed by Ross "I honestly don't know if I'm hungry or horny!" Geller from Friends.
14-year-old high-school volleyball player Annie (Liana Liberato) meets 16-year-old "Charlie" on a volleyball-themed Internet chat room, after which they become friends and then progress into something a bit more serious. After Charlie's age changes to 20, then 25, Annie becomes suspicious, but agrees to meet him anyway, at the local shopping mall. Needless to say, it doesn't end well.
The aftershocks that follow are of the most banal sort, with most interactions between the Annie's parents (poorly paired Catherine Keener and Clive Owen) devolving into overwrought scream-fests. But much more troubling are the directorial choices Schwimmer makes regarding their daughter. The needlessly repeated depiction of Annie's sexual assault skirts exploitation. After the third time seeing a 35-year-old man kiss and lick her neck while she's crying hysterically, it seemed time to go home and take a shower. There are tactful ways to depict traumatic experiences such as these —even when the actress is the same age as her character, as Liberato is —but it seems that Schwimmer isn't savvy enough to know when to pull in the reins.
The best thing about the film is Liberato, who while by no means an accomplished actress, doesn't as descend into maddeningly over-the-top hysterics as frequently as Owen and Keener do. Her initial repression of her rape —though occupying far too much of the film's running time —is largely realistic and down-to-earth, bringing a sense of reasonably believable emotion into her often absurdly histrionic family life, She also provides the only truly resonant moment in the film when she finally acknowledges the rape, modulating her eventual, cathartic breakdown in the arms of her grief counselor. The moment, though, comes too late to make the rest of the film's faults fairly forgivable.