The Tale chronicles one woman’s powerful investigation into her own childhood memories, as she is forced to re-examine her first sexual experience – and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.
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.
Streaming on HBO (Astro Ch 411/ HD 431) the same day as the U.S. on Sunday, May 27 at10pm, 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 Tale will also be available on HBO On Demand (via Astro GO).