THE TALE chronicles one woman’s powerful investigation into her own childhood memories, as she is forced to reexamine her first sexual experience – and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Debuting SATURDAY, MAY 26 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT), the HBO Films presentation is written and directed by Sundance Grand Prize winner and Emmy® nominee Jennifer Fox, who based it on her own true story.
The film will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
THE TALE stars Laura Dern (Oscar® nominee for “Wild” and “Rambling Rose”; Emmy® winner for HBO’s “Big Little Lies”; Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Recount” and “Afterburn”), Isabelle Nélisse (“Mama”), Elizabeth Debicki (“The Night Manager”), Jason Ritter (“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World”), Frances Conroy (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Six Feet Under”) and John Heard (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “The Sopranos”), with Common (Oscar® winner for “Selma”) and Ellen Burstyn (Academy Award® winner for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”).
An accomplished documentarian working in New York, Jennifer (Laura Dern) is completing her latest project about the lives of women around the world. She receives a series of phone calls from her mother, Nettie (Ellen Burstyn), who has found a short story Jennifer wrote at age 13, in which she describes various encounters with her riding instructor, Mrs. G (Elizabeth Debicki), and her running coach, Bill (Jason Ritter), while at summer camp. Nettie is unnerved by the implications of her daughter’s writing, but Jennifer is nonplussed. She has always looked back with fondness on the time she spent with these two charismatic adults.
Egged on by Nettie and encouraged by her supportive fiancé (Common), Jennifer yearns to know more and sets out on a journey, 30 years later, to find those people from her past – the children, now adults, who also attended the camp back then – and eventually the coaches themselves. But the more she learns, the more her memories shift and the more questions she unearths. As Jennifer’s frustration mounts, she finds herself turning inward to get to the truth, imagining conversations with her 13-year-old self (Isabelle Nélisse) and even Mrs. G and Bill in an effort to understand how and why events occurred so long ago.
An unforgettable meditation on the elusive nature of memory, THE TALE is the first narrative feature from Jennifer Fox, whose documentary films have earned international acclaim for their groundbreaking artistry and unflinching honesty. Based on Fox’s own life story, THE TALE sees the filmmaker bravely pushing forward the boundaries of conventional storytelling, creating a dialogue between past and present to illustrate the interplay between memory and trauma
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