The Tale (2018)


Critic Consensus: The Tale handles its extraordinarily challenging subject matter with sensitivity, grace, and the power of some standout performances led by a remarkable Laura Dern.


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Movie Info

Based on the filmmaker's own story, THE TALE is an investigation into one woman's memory as she's forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

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Critic Reviews for The Tale

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (27)

Jenny's reluctance to stare down the horror gives "The Tale" an ineluctable psychological power.

Aug 23, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Tale is lit up by a clarifying anger, but it has a stirring, inspiring streak-it's about mastering a story by finding the right way to tell it.

Jun 26, 2018 | Full Review…

It is, instead, a startlingly effective act of fiction, in which [Jennifer] Fox turns her abuser into an accessory in her own narrative, a means to an ending.

Jun 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Fox's movie renders the reconsideration of the personal past inseparable from reconsiderations of the historical past-and so, of cultural objects from the past that exert enduring power today.

Jun 3, 2018 | Full Review…

The Tale excels in these absurdist meta-moments, such as the scenes in which Dern and Nélisse meet up across time to deconstruct events as they happen.

Jun 1, 2018 | Full Review…

The Tale depicts the haziness of memory cinematically.

May 30, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Tale

Kudos to the way the story is told by director Jennifer Fox, and for telling her very personal story in the first place. The level of denial, sublimation, and discovery decades later is honest and illuminating. The conversations Laura Dern has in her mind with people from the past (including her 13 year old self, Isabelle Nélisse) as she sifts through the fog and memories of her abuse, are brilliant. Dern's performance is decent but not outstanding, but Ellen Burstyn's is strong, as is that of Nélisse. There were a few moments in the story that seemed a little odd, but no one can deny its fundamental truth to far too many. I have to say though, it's very tough to watch in several places. I'm certain Fox's intention was to be completely honest, but to be this explicit, and in what can be misinterpreted as a sympathetic overtone, is unpleasant to sit through. The extent of the negative impact of predatory child rape isn't fully felt, though Dern's scene confronting her abuser late in the movie is powerful. I like how Fox signaled the cyclical nature of the crime ('what happened to you?'), and I loved the inclusion of her own childhood pictures at the end, which brings goosebumps. A heartbreaking, important film, but just brace yourself before watching it.

Antonius Block
Antonius Block

Super Reviewer

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