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Watch “The Tale” on HBO on May 26

Laura Dern stars in "The Tale" and Isabelle Nélisse portrays her as a 13-year-old.

Laura Dern stars in “The Tale” and Isabelle Nélisse portrays her as a 13-year-old.

In the film “The Tale,” documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox (actress Laura Dern) is forced to reexamine her first sexual relationship after her mother finds a short story she wrote years ago in middle school.

Was the then 13-year-old girl’s relationship with her adult horse-riding and running coaches consensual as Jennifer claimed? Or was she suppressing memories of sexual exploitation? “The Tale” takes a deep, unflinching look at this complex, uncomfortable subject.

The film, which premieres on HBO on May 26 at 10 p.m., is based on the life of Sundance Grand Prize Winner and Emmy nominated writer-director Jennifer Fox. Fox wrote and directed “The Tale.”

The film also has a relationship with the National Association of Social Workers.

Jennifer Fox

Jennifer Fox

NASW member SaraKay Smullens, author of the NASW Press book “Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work,” is a friend of the Fox family and advised on the film. Oren Moverman, one of the producers of “The Tale,  has served as an adviser to NASW and has turned to the association for guidance advice on screen projects.

Fox reached out to NASW staff to preview the film last December and offer suggestions on how to share it with social workers and help social workers use the film to discuss molestation and child abuse.

“I found ‘The Tale’ to be the most realistic film I have ever seen in regard to the complexities involved in the framing of the child sexual exploitation experience, the grooming process, a child’s processing of that experience, the hectic family dynamics, memory and validation of the experience, and confrontation of the perpetrator,” said Bekki Ow-Ärhus, LICSW, senior professional development associate at NASW.

Jennifer Fox invites social workers to take part in a #MacroSW Twitter chat on the film on May 24 at 9 p.m. ET, watch the premiere of the film on HBO two days later, and organize and take part in discussions about “The Tale.”

Social workers who attend the 2018 NASW National Conference in Washington, D.C. will also get an opportunity to meet Jennifer Fox. She will hold a panel discussion on the film and the issue of sexual exploitation on June 22 at noon.

Social workers help people overcome life’s challenges, including issues such as sexual abuse. To learn more visit NASW’s HelpStartsHere.org website.

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