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Movie Analysis "the Tale" - Type of Offender and Symptoms of Abuse

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"Can you just let me sit with my own memories?" This plea, from Jennifer to her mother , is a key moment in "The Tale," an extraordinary and disturbing new film directed by Jennifer Fox, based on Fox's own experience with childhood molestation

It's key because "The Tale" is, in many ways, about memory, and memory's unreliability and slipperiness. Memory can cloak trauma in another "better" narrative, sparing us until we're ready to deal.

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Teen girl sexuality is often packaged as a dangerous, irresistible elixir wielded by wiser-than-they-seem temptresses in bikinis, lustily grooming themselves poolside. Coquettish. Precocious. It’s a putrid myth we’re taught about ourselves, that if in teenhood a man finds himself hopelessly attracted to us, the kernel of essential badness and transgression comes from us, not from him. I’m so used to seeing — reading, hearing, knowing — that girlishness through hypnotized male eyes that I didn’t even blink at the early flashbacks of “The Tale,” as we see adult Jennifer (Laura Dern) remember being a 15-year-old Jenny (Jessica Sarah Flaum), taking horseback-riding lessons and basking in the attention of the seemingly fascinating teacher Mrs. G. (Elizabeth Debicki) and a local running coach, Bill (Jason Ritter)

But then the flashback cuts. No, says her mother (Ellen Burstyn). You were younger than that. She hands adult Jennifer a photo album. “That was 13,” she says, tapping a photo.

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To conclude, “The Tale” suggests a vast personal self-reconciliation and self-reconstruction that the character of Jennifer will undertake

But it builds that idea into a wider idea, of another collective reconstruction; it looks not just backward but ahead, from 2008 to today—and to change that’s as critical for the inner lives of individuals as it is for society at large.

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