Review: The Tale

It's how I wrote it.

Jenny (Laura Dern) re-examines her first sexual encounter at the age of 13 with her running coach, Bill. (Jason Ritter). She always considered it a relationship and not the abuse that it truly was. As she goes back to talk to the people involved, she's forced to take a different view of it. 

When The Tale premiered it Sundance earlier this year, there was a lot of chatter about how this is the perfect story to tell in the era of #MeToo. And it is, still, I was iffy when I heard they would be showing scenes of abuse. But director Jennifer Fox - who is dramatizing her own experiences - went to great lengths to use a double for the more troubling scenes, and the film lets you know it. She handles it the same way Gregg Araki did the harder scenes in Mysterious Skin. Knowing all of that, I gave it a shot when it premiered on HBO recently. 

It's still incredibly hard to watch at times. Isabelle NĂ©lisse, who plays Jenny at 13 looks is just so innocent. Thankfully the majority of the film is almost shot like a detective story, with Dern's Jenny slowly picking up more pieces and interviewing those involved. That part worked incredibly well. 

Dern is fantastic here, and I thought Jenny's struggle with accepting the fact that this was rape and Bill wasn't just a boyfriend was completely believable. For me, the film just ended too soon with adult Jenny's story. I wanted to see what she did with her epiphany, but in a way, what matters is that she has one to begin with. I really admire Jennifer Fox for talking about her story and having the courage to make it into a film like this. I imagine we'll be hearing about them again come Emmy season.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm the hero." - Jenny (Isabelle NĂ©lisse)


  1. Gosh, this sounds like a hard watch. Ii think Laura Dern is a brilliant actress though so I might just have to check this one out.

    1. It is, but it feels very cathartic for the director. I imagine that's how she must have felt.

  2. Maybe I will check it out on HBO as I do like Laura Dern.

  3. Hi Brittani! I read about this film when it was playing at major film festivals, maybe Sundance. Looks intriguing and I love Dern so I might rent this one.


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