‘The Tale’: The Most Controversial Film of the Year

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

Over the weekend, I watched an interesting film. A film that made me… uncomfortable. That movie was HBO’s The Tale starring Laura Dern. It was released last month and has been named, “HBO’s Most Controversial Movie”.

The Tale tackles a true story about a woman, Jennifer Fox (Dern), recalling her past, first boyfriend, and first sexual experiences from when she was thirteen. The boyfriend, Bill (Jason Ritter), was 40. This subject in film, childhood abuse, isn’t new to anyone. We’ve seen it in Lolita in the 60’s and 90’s. But what made this so controversial were the scenes they decided to show.

With 13 year old Jenny played by the very young Isabelle Nélisse, her and Ritter’s characters have disturbing sex scenes that of course used a body double. It is very obvious that they were using a body double but it doesn’t stop the person watching it from wanting to vomit. From the creepy, pedophilic dialogue from Ritter’s character to the actual simulation of the sex, it became something that was sad to completely sickening. I say all of this as if it were a bad movie.

It wasn’t.

It was an insane thing to watch but the story is touching and relevant to many people who’ve experienced it. Dern portrays a confused woman who doesn’t know what to make of an experience that altered her life. She doesn’t know if she’s a victim of abuse or a lover in the most twisted relationship.

The Tale is heartbreaking to watch but childhood abuse happens to this day and no one could know the seriousness of it unless it’s shown to them in its disgusting yet, real form.


My Rating: 90%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

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