By almost all accounts - not to mention festival Top Ten lists - The Tale is a masterful, harrowing piece of filmmaking. Slate's Sam Adams labeled it "the perfect movie for our #MeToo movement", saying:
"The Tale instantly became the most talked-about movie of Sundance, and yet one of the festival’s storied bidding wars has yet to materialize, and whatever distributor ends up with the film will have to reckon with the fact that many people will be unwilling, or unable, to face it. But it’s almost impossible to conceive of a movie better suited to the present moment of reckoning with sexual abuse, and one better equipped to extend and complicate that extraordinarily necessary conversation. The time for The Tale is now."
Starring Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, HBO's official synopsis illustrates just how deep the writer/director's "pure memoir" may cut for some viewers:
"Jennifer has it all, with a loving boyfriend and a great career as a journalist and professor. But when her mother discovers a story – “The Tale” – that Jennifer wrote when she was 13, detailing a special relationship Jennifer had with two adult coaches, Jennifer returns to the Carolina horse farm where the events transpired to try to reconcile her version of events with the truth."
Now, HBO has unveiled a trailer for the picture they purchased (following an intense bidding war) out of Sundance, and it practically guarantees a difficult viewing experience. Take a look:
Hopefully, The Tale ends up being as essential as we've heard. This is the moment for our most personal art to confront these acts of abuse and control, and Jennifer Fox (who's making her narrative directorial debut) seems to be a huge talent to watch (though she's also been crafting docs since '97).
The Tale premieres on HBO May 26th.