Review of Trust Me

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Follows flailing Hollywood agent Howard (Clark Gregg, also directing), who seemingly strikes gold after signing the next big child star. What results is an unexpected ride through the nasty inner workings of Hollywood, as he desperately tries to make it in an industry that has no interest in recognizing his bumbling but ultimately genuine nature. A comedy film, Trust Me also stars Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney & Amanda Peet.
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Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Directed by: Clark Gregg
Genre: Comedy

"Trust Me" stars Clark Gregg as Howard Holloway — a former child star turned talent agent. When Howard meets a talented young actress, he sees the opportunity to achieve the same level of success he experienced when he was a child star. Things change when Howard learns the young actress is hiding a dark secret.

Plot Summary

"Trust Me" chronicles the life of Howard Holloway — a talent agent consumed with the need to make it big by landing a talented client. At the same time, Howard also feels a responsibility to his clients, which more often than not causes him problems. In the opening scenes, Howard is happily representing a young boy and has just landed him a starring role. Unfortunately, Howard inadvertently offends Meg, the film's producer, which causes the boy to be fired.

Desperate to get a new client, Howard begins aggressively pursuing a contract with a talented 13-year-old actress named Lydia. Lydia's father, Ray, initially rejects Howard's offer in favor of his competition — a talent agent named Aldo. Lydia insists that Howard must represent her, and her father eventually gives in.

Shortly after signing a contract with Howard, Lydia lands a major role. There is only one problem: Howard begins to suspect that Lydia is being abused by her father. As the film comes to a close, Howard struggles with choosing between the financial gain that comes with keeping Lydia as a client and saving her life.

Cast

Clark Gregg is the director of "Trust Me," and he is also the writer of the script and stars as Howard. Since Gregg essentially wrote his own role, audiences would naturally expect him to nail the role. In this case, Gregg exceeds expectations. Gregg's performance is so natural and authentic, it is very apparent that he knows his character inside and out.

Child actress Saxon Sharbino's performance is equally impressive. Her role as Lydia calls for her playing a talented actress and she meets the challenge. Even though Sharbino has only a handful of credits, her performance in "Trust Me" shows that she is capable of playing a deep, conflicted character that appears far older than her actual age.

Film Analysis

The lead character in "Trust Me" is both endearing and consumed with a desire for success. The film spends a short amount of time delving into Howard's past as a child star. As an adult, he has dedicated his life to helping his clients avoid the negative experiences he's all too familiar with. At the same time, Howard also yearns for the success he once had. The backstory is essential to fully understanding Howard's motivations, and the film spends just enough time on this aspect of the story without making it the major focus.

Howard is well-contrasted with Lydia who, at only 13, is self-assured and able to handle the demands of being a child star. The film does an excellent job allowing Howard and Lydia to get close, but the relationship walks the line of a father-child relationship.

The plot of "Trust Me" is quite straightforward, but there are numerous subplots that add great depth to the story and keep the audience interested — and invested in — what happens to the characters. The romantic element of the film comes with the tentative relationship between Howard and his neighbor Marcy — a woman he has long wanted to date. The relationship does not gain a solid direction until the last scene, which keeps things interesting. There is also the rivalry between Aldo and Howard and Howard and Meg to complement the major conflict that arises when Howard learns Lydia is being abused.

"Trust Me" is an aptly named film, as the theme of trust runs throughout every relationship and plot development. The revelation that Lydia is being sexually abused presents the ultimate test of trust. Howard must trust that he is reading the signs of abuse correctly and that he is capable of saving and caring for Lydia. The ending of the film is very satisfying, as Howard lands the role of a lifetime — one he never even knew he wanted.

Although "Trust Me" is billed as a comedy, there are times when the film carries a more dramatic feel. Several supporting characters balance out some of the darker developments by providing comic relief. Even more effective, some characters, such as Aldo, are specifically designed to add humor to the film. "Trust Me" ultimately strikes the perfect balance between drama and comedy.

"Trust Me" is a Hollywood-themed film, but the plot is far from what audiences may expect. Howard is the unusual talent agent who has a vested interest in his clients beyond financial gain. Since Gregg and newcomer Saxon Sharbino do a great job in their respective roles, the story is compelling and meaningful.