Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime
Clive Owen, Liana Liberato(from If I Stay), Catherine Keener (from 40 Year Old Virgin), Jason Clarke, Viola Davis.
The acting in this film is great and has the star power of Clive Owen and Viola Davis. Owen does a fantastic job playing the father and Liana Liberato is great, especially for her age, as the main character. Davis and Clarke add their skills as supporting actors.
Liana Liberato stars as Annie, a young freshman in high school I believe, who is going through a tough time as she is searching for a way to fit in and find a sense of purpose in her life through her relationships. Right away she is chatting on a social site online as she attempts to make the volleyball team, this is where she receives much needed social support and friendship from a boy online who she believes is a 15 year old from California who also plays volleyball. Her best friend Brittany seems to be the only true friend she has, so she has this need to increase her social life. Annie is a shy girl, which is shown while she attends a party with Brittany when they do not interact with anyone at the popular girl’s party. The attention Annie is receiving from her online friend, Charlie, becomes the source of a sense of belonging and attention from a boy that she is searching for. You already know based on the movie that this online relationship is going to start to get weird and the writers do a great job of setting this up without any slow points in the film. Annie starts to distance herself from her family and friends as she is now spending all of her time talking to Charlie. Things begin to get weird here as Charlie starts to confess that he isn’t actually a 15 year old kid. Two different interactions reveal that Charlie has been lying about his age to Annie but he is able to gain her trust back both times by taking advantage of her innocence. Their relationship excels from the internet to talking and texting on the phone. These interactions lead to a face to face meeting and this goes just how you would imagine. Annie is very excited to finally meet this older boy that she really likes but is then thrown off when she meets a full grown man in his mid thirties. She is obviously hurt but Charlie is again able to capitalize on her young innocence and need for a feeling of belonging with someone that he is able to talk her into coming back to his motel. This is where the story begins to unravel as Annie is raped by Charlie and her whole world starts to come apart. Her relationship with Charlie is discovered and the FBI becomes involved. Clarke plays the FBI agent investigating the case and Davis plays the psychiatrist trying to help Annie cope with what happened. Clive Owen starts to unravel as a father trying to figure out how this could have happened to his daughter. He seeks justice against this man, as any father would, and starts investigating the case on his own. The details about Charlie begin to emerge as the FBI struggles to find anyway to catch him. Annie is in denial of what happened and still has this feeling of love for Charlie as she now thinks her family and friends are just out to get her. Her parents do not know what to do as Owen is losing it and Keener is just trying to relate to her daughter. EVENTUALLY Annie realizes what happened to her was in fact rape and that Charlie was a pedophile who took advantage of her. Her choice to head back to school leads to something that you kind of figured would happen throughout the whole movie but you really hoped it wouldn’t. I will not spoil the ending but I will promise you that it will leave you upset.
This is an excellent movie! The writers keep you entertained throughout the entire film as you go on a roller coaster ride of emotions. You will feel creeped out throughout as you realize how scary the online world can be for a young girl. If you are a parent with a daughter I can only imagine how this movie will make you feel. You will experience different thoughts about Annie throughout the film as you sympathize with her at first, then you are in disbelief with her actions throughout her denial process, and then again you feel this great sympathy for her at the end. Owen does an excellent job portraying a father in this situation and you will relate to his actions throughout and root for him to find Charlie. As I said before the ending will leave you upset which goes to show how well written the storyline of this movie is. There are moments at the end that will leave you on the edge of your seat experiencing a handful of emotions. You need to sit down and watch this movie ASAP!
Hay in a Needlestack Rating: 9/10