FILM

The Tale
By Anna Morgan With on February 09, 2018

The Tale is an autobiographic film that tells the story of filmmaker, Jennifer Fox, and how making a film about abuse triggered memories of her own sexual abuse by her running coach as a thirteen-year-old. The film brilliantly documents the complexities of post-traumatic stress disorder. As she explores her memories, the film flashes back to her childhood to show memories to the audience. As her memories sharpen, the film replays the same scenes again with the adjustments to the memory. For example, when she first remembers the abuse, she visualizes herself a young woman, older and so more powerful, viewing it as a romantic relationship she had agency in. After she looks at photos of herself at thirteen, she realizes that she was, in fact, still a child, and the film replays the memories with a younger actress. We see that this was not a relationship of equals, but a child being sexually traumatized by a forty-year-old man. Post-traumatic stress victims experience these shifts of memory as the trauma integrates with their consciousness, and this film helps us understand how that works. The Tale's release was unintentionally timely in light of the #metoo movement that is sweeping through American culture and institutions. What is being exposed is a part of American culture that needs to be healed, redeemed, and changed. With prophetic discernment, we can recognize God at work reshaping our culture and male/female interactions. A quarter of our population, both in and out of church have experienced abuse. Some of the resistance I've observed toward women who share their stories of abuse is that these stories tend to contain inconsistencies. These inconsistencies cause us to doubt the truthfulness of these stories. The Tale reveals why these inconsistencies occur, and after watching, the viewer is more likely to be patient with someone whose story is changing as they remember. The Tale will prompt women who watch to wrestle with their own memories and challenges the viewer to find healing. God may be speaking to Christians through The Tale about how to create safe places for women in the #metoo movement to share their memories as they recover them, and to stop the cycles of abuse in our culture today. The Tale brought to my mind 2 Samuel 13 and the abuse and rape of King David's virgin (safe to presume quite young) daughter Tamar by her brother Amnon. This story well illustrates the destructive nature of systems of abuse. David, the parent, did nothing to address the issue even though he was aware and angry. As a result, Tamar's brother Absalom took on the hero role, killing their brother Amnon in revenge. In turn, Absalom was banished for three years, and these seeds of division and pain caused Absalom's subsequent rebellion and death in 2 Samuel 15-17. If David had done the right thing to hear his daughter Tamar and address the abuse, then she might have found healing and David avoided great damage to his family and his leadership. The Tale gives us clues about how to listen to victims of abuse.

About the Author: Anna Morgan

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