Trust follows the story of Annie (Liana Liberato), a pretty normal 14 year old girl who enjoys chatting on websites. There's one particular guy who's really nice to her, named Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey). Upon getting to know more about him, however, she learns that he is not in fact 14, but 20. Oh wait, he's actually 25. But that doesn't matter, there's a special bond between them. So when they decide to meet she is a little apprehensive when it turns out he's actually over 30 and really creepy. But events take their course and eventually the unthinkable happens. The rest of the movie explores the fallout from these events, specifically Annie's emotional journey and her father's (Clive Owen) unrelenting search for answers and justice.
Trust is not a film that dances around the issue. From the point that Annie meets Charlie it descends from just plain creepy to pretty damn harrowing within minutes. There are certain details in the aftermath that are explained flat out, and the whole movie is pretty much designed not to sugar coat anything that it confronts. This is a hard hitting movie about the effect that grooming can have on the children involved, how it affects their mental state and their relationship with their family.
Of course, none of this would be effective without the skills of Liberato. She is absolutely fantastic as Annie, and the stages she goes through are so well portrayed you're just sucked into the rollercoaster ride that she's on. Owen leaves a little to be desired, but in this instance, as the straight talking, massively angry father, he does a great job. These two really do steal the show because this movie is largely about the relationship between them. The rest of the family seem to just be there for appearances, but it would have been nice to see a bit more input from Annie's mother or siblings.
One thing I can say is that Coffey is really good at playing a creepy paedophile. I've always kind of admired actors who are able to take on negative roles like this and manage to smash them out of the park by making them some of the most uncomfortable I've seen. All you really see of Charlie is the moments in which he and Annie meet, and although his words are well-wishing he oozes creepiness from the start.
I don't quite know what I was expecting when I started watching Trust, but it was a whole lot better than I thought it would be. Despite the few main characters and perhaps a slightly drawn out story which develops quite slowly, it is pulled together by a few very strong performances and a gritty realism that you can't really shake off after watching. Trust seems to be a movie more designed to educate than entertain, and it certainly left an impression on me.
My rating: 5/5