HBO Films has released the first trailer for The Tale, the unnerving true-story drama that made waves when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Written and directed by Jennifer Fox, based on her own life experiences, the film stars Laura Dern as a woman who starts to uncover memories from her childhood involving sexual abuse, when for all these years she’d simply been telling herself she had a relationship with a slightly older man when she was a teenager. The film brilliantly chronicles the fallibility of memory, especially when it comes to abuse, and in the process serves as a deeply empathetic tale that allows those lucky enough not to have experienced something like this to recognize how it can take years to fully understand what exactly happened, and how the manipulation from abusers gets ingrained over time.
The Tale had the most “Oscar buzz” of all the films at Sundance, but in a surprise move was picked up by HBO. The pay cable channel offered the ability for Fox to ensure her story would be seen by a wide audience, with the care and attention necessary for a film like this, and in the end she felt that was more valuable than the litany of Academy Award nominations this film surely would have received—especially for Dern, who delivers a phenomenal performance.
This trailer does a great job of giving people a taste of how Fox frames the film, which is absolutely crucial to its impact. Her filmmaking underlines the fractured memories of the lead character, which in turn underscores why so many #MeToo stories take so long to come to the surface—if ever.
I’ve seen The Tale and was left completely shaken by the experience. It’s one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen, and an absolutely essential movie for the moment we’re living in right now. I implore any and everyone to watch it when it comes to HBO.
Check out the trailer below and click here to read Matt’s review from Sundance. The Tale also stars Jason Ritter, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabelle Nélisse, Frances Conroy, John Heard, Common, and Ellen Burstyn. The Tale premieres on HBO on May 26th.