Trust (1990)
10/10
minor spoiler: great performance by Shelley and Donovan!
29 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Watching Hal Hartley's Trust for the second time 15 years later is exhilarating and somewhat disappointing. The characters are contrived and overintellectualized, and the conflict between parent and child here doesn't ring true (it seems to have the usual bitterness of college sophomores). Also the gestures and dialogue are stagy and slightly pretentious. Never mind that; you're missing the point. The film is not aiming at realism; it's aiming at conveying the emotional turbulence of young adult struggling to break free from the orbit of their parents.

Plot and incident flow naturally and often end up in unexpected places. There's lots of surprises, many of them comic. The film is about throwing characters together and watching how they react. The moment where the girl messes up the kitchen makes you wonder, how will the father react? The dialogue (reminiscient of Stoppard or Mamet) is curt and enigmatic and challenging. And always entertaining. People are learning from one another and changing..possibly improving. The movie Trust is less about plot than a certain attitude toward life--how much trust should we place in family, friends, peers? People don't have secrets or histories; they have metaphysical complaints and frustrated dreams. Martin Donovan and Adrienne Shelly are not only young charismatic actors, they act and react with subtlety and focus. Yet both have chemistry with one another and manage to sustain this intensity without going too far (Kudos to Mr. Hartley for not aiming

for sympathy or making motives too transparent). Donovan seems adept at playing characters about to boil under, but manage to hold it in (He's at his best in the film Surviving Desire,).

Adrienne, that moment when you put on your glasses at the end was a great cinematic moment. Hopeful, assertive and maybe even cocky. Your fans will always have that moment to remember you by.

If you liked Trust, you'd also enjoy: Hartley's Surviving Desire (although it's more arty), Jill Sprecher's 13 Conversations about One Thing and her earlier film, Clockwatchers).
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