Sheldon Kirshner

Trust — A Film About A Splintered Jewish Family

Family dynamics can be confusing and confounding. Almog Avidan Antonir’s feature film, Trust, which will be available on ChaiFlicks and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play from February 27 onward, makes this point abundantly and painfully clear.

The Abelmans, a splintered Jewish family, are brought together in Los Angeles for the funeral of its matriarch, Rachel, who passed from this vale of tears after committing suicide. She was a successful businesswoman who, for reasons that remain opaque, careened off the tracks.

Now the pieces of her abbreviated life must be picked up and sorted out by her survivors, who have been left in various states of mourning.

Converging on Rachel’s house are Kate (Jennifer Levinson), a student; her brother, Josh (Heston Horwin), an executive at his late mother’s accounting firm; Trini (Kate Spare), the oldest and oddest sibling, and Damien (Linden Ashby), Rachel’s estranged husband, from whom she was separated and on the cusp of divorcing before her untimely death.

Judging by their stilted conversations, they have not been in touch lately. But at the funeral, two of her children deliver remarkably similar eulogies in praise of Rachel, who seems to have been a good person who had mastered the art of making people feel better.

As the film unfolds, the siblings clash among themselves and with their father, who appears to be a philanderer.

Much to his children’s surprise and shock, Damien has been designated as Rachel’s sole heir. They had each expected an inheritance from her estate, but since Rachel and Damien never signed their divorce papers, the siblings have been cut out of the will. And in a double whammy, Damien gets to keep Rachel’s house in the suburbs as the exclusive owner.

The lawyer claims that Damien has “nothing but good intentions” toward his children, but that claim has yet to be proven.

The fraught situation goes from bad to worse as Kate and Trini quarrel, as Josh advises Kate to ease up on her drinking, as Josh discovers that his place in his mother’s company is less than secure, and as Damien puts the house up for sale without even consulting anyone.

To make matters worse, Trini arranged for Rachel to be cremated without so much as informing her siblings. Josh valiantly tries to keep the family from imploding, but the task he has undertaken is beyond his capabilities.

In light of the flaring tensions, Damien wants a “fresh start,” but Kate and Josh are suspicious and a row erupts. Clearly, there is a yawning absence of trust among the Abelmans. There is no hackneyed, happy ending in Trust, which enhances its credibility.

Ably directed by Antonir, this is an unrelentingly realistic, gritty and well-crafted film whose accomplished cast delivers the goods without a single snafu.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,