CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! I’ve always believed that life is a drama, and films are a reflection of that. There’s also a belief that, like our favorite stories, we all deserve a “happily ever after.” Let’s face it. Life is more complicated than we choose to believe, and Jennifer Levinson and Almog Avidan Antonir’s feature film, Trust, reminds us of that fact.
While preparing for an important college presentation, Kate’s (Jennifer Levinson) world is sent spiraling with the news of her mother Rachel’s suicide. Dropping everything, a reluctant Kate drops everything to return home. Met by her older brother, Josh (Heston Horwin), he braces her for what’s going to be a very dysfunctional funeral and shiva. Eldest sister Trini (Kate Spare) is nowhere to be found, leaving Josh and Kate to make all the funeral arrangements with the rabbi.
At the center of the dysfunction is the family patriarch, Damien’s (Linden Ashby) adulterous affair with Kate’s best friend, Amber (Marissa Sumiko Cohen). The affair left the family in shambles, and with Rachel’s suicide, the family is forced to confront one another to bring closure.
While reading the will, it’s discovered that Damien never finalized the divorce. So instead of the children getting their share of their mother’s estate, everything goes to ex-husband Damien, who decides the children need to learn to survive on their own and begins selling the family home.
The world is definitely not short on stories of toxic families. Still, writer/star Jennifer Levinson crafted a remarkably balanced story while keeping this powder-keg family together with the loosest of threads. At the risk of spoiling things, Trust is not your typical story of a family coming together amid tragedy to come out stronger in the end. Instead, it’s a story of personal boundaries and knowing the proper distance to keep your family to maintain one’s sanity.
“…Kate’s world is sent spiraling with the news of her mother Rachel’s suicide.”
Trust also reminded me about the self-sacrificing nature of parenting, or in this case, how a parent’s selfishness (primarily that of Damien) spells disaster for children. Damien’s affair became the catalyst for this imploding family, and now the children are forced to jockey for position to ensure they don’t get screwed by the other.
The casting and performances in Trust are brilliant. Trini has all but given up on becoming an adult and conjures tall tales for emotional and financial support. As the middle child, Josh plays the peacemaker, frantically trying to keep the semblance of a family together. Trust is primarily Kate’s story, who finds herself seriously considering whether it would be better to cut off her family for the sake of her future.
Trust works thanks to an insightful story by Jennifer Levinson and a series of fantastic performances under the direction of Almog Avidan Antonir. Levinson shines bright at Kate, but I also want to highlight Heston Horwin as Josh. There are two moments where Josh has to stand up for himself and his mother, and Horwin is incredible in these moments.
Kate’s Jewish heritage plays a significant role in the story. She fights with the seemingly born-again Trini over the rites and rituals of their mother’s funeral. Rachel’s siblings are also on location to witness the deteriorating family dynamic, and all played to comic effect. There’s a wonderfully choreographed one-shot during the funeral that must not be missed.
Jennifer Levinson and Almog Avidan Antonir’s Trust brings all the emotion and drama of a dysfunctional family while finding a much-needed fragment of hope in the end.
Trust screened at the 2022 Cinequest Film Festival.
"…crafted a remarkably balanced story while keeping this powder-keg family together with the loosest of threads."