Author Topic: Trust  (Read 499 times)


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« on: January 07, 2012, 10:45:28 PM »
Spoilers for Trust

There was no statutory rape in Trust, there was rape in Trust. Her age was ultimately irrelevant to the act. This for me was a big let-down of the film because it removes any moral ambiguity. If it had actually been statutory rape, that would have made it play out more interestingly.

I disagree that the film - and the act itself - is unambiguous.  As a lawyer, I can tell you that if Annie was an adult and a jury saw the only thing we see on screen, the state would have no case.  (Annie dresses up in skimpy underwear, sits next to Charley on the bed, and when he makes his move, the most she says is "Wait, Charley" and then she lies back and stares at the ceiling.  I dont' think that's intended to be cut and dry.  Moreover, the controversial "sex scenes" in the film are actually figments of the father's imagination we see later.)

You and her parents might view what happened as rape, but what is important for purposes of the film is that Annie didn't consider it rape after the fact.  Indeed, the FBI agent responds to the father's question of why Annie didn't tell him to stop, "Just because she didn't scream for help does not mean that it this wasn't rape.  Now, that guy was 20 years older than she is.  He groomed her for weeks just to get her into the motel room.  And she's on to what?  8th grade biology and the expectation that the world is a decent place."  That is the very legal essence of statutory rape and one of the sources of dramatic tension in the film.  Statutory rape is based on the presumption that a 14/15-year old girl (most state laws do not apply to boys) lacks the capacity to consent to sex, and Annie resents that.  She initally tells the counselor, "There are girls at my school who have sex with half the football team, but I lose my virginity and my parents make a federal case out of it - literally," she scoffs at the idea of Charley being "dangerous," and she is actually angry at her parents for keeping her away from Charley.  That is certainly the source of the tension and disconect between Annie and her parents.  The mere idea of being a victim clashes with teenage pysche, sociology, and sexuality.  What is telling is that Annie never uses the word "rape" until she is livid and finds out that Charley had other girls just like her.

I am not making a case for the way things should or should not be, under the law or in the real world, but I disagree that there is no ambiguity or complexity to the questions raised in the film.

Decided if we were going to have this conversation we needed a proper spoiler thread.

It has been a number of months since I watched it but I remember having a strong reaction of disappointment about the direction the film took, and with the interviews with the cast about the film and its purpose of highlighting the danger of these predators. I'm someone who doesn't think there should be such a thing as statutory rape on feminist grounds. The way they play it in the film, as I saw it, was that she was raped and then convinced herself she consented. We find out at the end that he was a serial predator or something. This all leans to the fact that this was an improper relationship by any definition.

What would have been more interesting to me is if they played him as more honest (not vastly older) and her as more willing. They have a fairly wholesome relationship excepting that by law it was statutory rape. That makes her defense of it seem less like a response out of trauma and it makes her father and/or the law less sympathetic in his/its anger. At the end of the day what does Trust say but the world is a scary place so lock your daughters up? Sure, it has the bit where we see her father is part of the industry sexualizing children with fashion (which is an obnoxious bit of moralism in its own right).