Trust Fund~ Review by Four Violet Reviews

I Love Movie reviews and this next Movie review also came with a Book....even better!  Several weeks ago we received the movie, Trust Fund from Mapelle Films along with the book, Love Was Near.  Both are intended for ages 12+, but can be appropriate for younger kiddos if the movie is watched as a family to promote discussion.
As soon as we opened the movie we watched it that very night.  Popped some popcorn, grabbed some chocolate and we were ready for movie night!  The whole family watched it the 1st time, even Kaden who is 10 and Dad.  We all enjoyed it so much we ended up watching it a week or so later just Mahala and I. We were thrilled to find out that the Producer of the Movie, Isaac Alongi was a Homeschooler back in the 80's.  It's cool to see all the different career paths our Homeschooled kids go on.

This movie is a lot like the Prodigal Son. Kaden pointed that much out to us from the get go.  But, it has a twist because it's about Sisters.  The main character and Daughter is Reese, I could relate to her in a way that I know what it's like to be searching for Love, any kind of Love.  My parents died when I was 11 and 12 years old.  Reese lost her Mom at 16, people deal with loss and many ways.  The older Sister was structured and disciplined and Reese was on the hunt for something more playing the typical 'baby" of the family that gets away with more then she should.  That was what registered in my heart.  She ended up making some pretty poor decisions because she had "entitlement-itis" and ended up losing it all.  Without giving the movie away I will say that by the end I was proud of Reese and where she was going.  The change is evident in both Sisters as they take on new rolls.

 The setting in the movie is in Chicago and Italy....boy was the scenery gorgeous.  The acting was terrific, I loved the realness and connection I felt.  There were times I forgot I was actually watching a movie because I was so invested. :)  Now the book, Love Was Near .....I couldn't wait to take it out and start reading.  And to see that it was the same title as Reese's book and of course the girl with the yellow dress on the cover is similar to Reese's book.  Mahala and I decided to take it on our upcoming camping trip.  Once we started reading we were thrilled to see it was not just a regular book, but a journal/study.  After getting some back story that wasn't shown in the movie it dives right in to questions about your place in the family.  Mahala is the middle child, but her experience is kind of unique.  She is Kaden's older sibling and she very much acts like the oldest or 1st born, way more then the actual 1st born in our family.  I think it has to do with Kaden having Autism.  The way the chapters are set up you begin reading the story and then it goes into a Diary entry with cool doodles and or snap shots and then there are some real thought provoking questions.  The questions address the what the chapter is about.  One of my favorites was Reese saying she was so focused on what she didn't have that she couldn't see all that she did have.  And then asked if we had ever done that.  Mahala and I would always both answer and this gave us hours and hours of conversation.  Another favorite from the book was to describe who we are in just 3 words and also give 3 words that others would describe us.
 Here is another golden nugget from the book...... 

How far will You go?  How much of Yourself are You willing to give up or give to someone for love or whatever it is You're chasing after?

Can I get an AMEN?!?!  We read that, jotted it down on a 3x5 card and taped it to our fridge.  Another chapter I think it was 19 talks about giving your Power away.  I have been a Co-Dependent person my whole life.  And I based my happiness on the happiness of others.  Not anymore, and my goal is to raise my Daughter to never pick up that Co-Dependent Hat....leave it, don't even look at it.  

So, I can honestly say I Loved Trust Fund and Love Was Near.  I think every young girl should get this for her 13th Birthday!  I will cherish our words written in both Mine and Mahala's handwriting in the book and I look forward to passing on this movie to friends.  If you have kiddos that are around 12, especially a daughter.  Pick these two up and have a girls night with treats.  Watch the movie and then find snuggle time a few nights a week and go through the book together.  You will be glade you did....I promise you!

 Make sure you head over and Connect with Mapelle Films with Social Media!!!  And you can also check out their Study Guide that you can download and use to dig deeper.  It's packed with scriptures and questions that correspond with certain scenes in the movie.  We are thinking about getting a few of Mahala's friends and their Moms to go through this with us in a weekly study group.



1. You’ve survived another week of scrolling through negative political posts accompanied by hateful comments and listened to countless depressing news stories. You deserve a few hours of reprieve! I dare you not to smile while watching Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance through Griffith Observatory!

2. La La Land isn’t just a love story, it’s a story about believing in your dreams. Here’s a shocker, you can take your family to see this one and you won’t feel awkward or have to hide anyone’s eyes.

3. And last, but not least. Trust Fund's, Jessica Rothe, is one of Emma Stone’s roommates! Mia has three roommates who all share the same dream of being discovered. They sing and dance around their apartment in the tradition of Hollywood classic musicals, to the number, “Someone in the Crowd,” which is well worth the price of admission!



The Bechdel Test asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. In Trust Fund women drive the story. As two sisters, played by Jessica Rothe and Louise Dylan, work out their differences, the relationship gets worse before it gets better. The younger sister is a free spirit, on a quest for self-discovery, but she is surrounded by a cast of strong grounded women. Including her publisher,  played by Ana Ortiz, her father's assistant,  played by Esther Scott, and her two girl friends that offer plenty of good advice, played by Kosha Patel and Louisa Mignone. 

It's surprising that this test wouldn't be passed by more movies. Women talk, we talk about a lot of things besides men. The women of Trust Fund are much like you and me. They talk about work, their family, their problems, their hopes, you get it, they're friends, colleagues,  confidants, they're sisters. 



Does family entertainment refer to animated fairy tales, or movies that revolve around children?

The ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment defines family entertainment as “high-quality programming that portrays modern families dealing with the complex issues that impact their lives in today’s society.”

There are thousands of films produced every year, but can you find something with a positive message or does watching them often feel like a waste of your time? I haven’t given up on the notion that movies can be both positive and entertaining. Storytellers have the opportunity to give people something to hope for.

Trust Fund follows an affluent family facing plenty of conflicts, with dishonestly, jealousy and pride. Audrey and Reese have a very complicated relationship and both are preoccupied with what is owed them. When faced with choosing between right and wrong, Reese decides to follow her heart, not caring who she hurts along the way. When realizing she deserves to be disowned by her family, her father chooses to offer his forgiveness as a way of teaching her about love, accepting her and knowing that she isn’t perfect. The Donahue family face their share of problems, but in the end, love brings them back together.



BIRTH ORDER MATTERS  by Julia Harkleroad

Birth Order Theory has been researched for decades; the very premise of which is sibling position and its effects on personality and differentiation in childhood development.  Studies have shown that in general, FIRSTBORN children tend to be more “A” typical; focused on perfection, authoritarian in relationships and risk adverse. Middle born children are far less egocentric, more artistic and social.  YOUNGEST born children tend to be endearing, pampered and protected from adversity and therefore struggle to launch as independent adults. Coping skills are pivotal to successful launching and those are hard earned through trial and error. This requires that parents allow a child to fail and suffer consequences and then try again, all free of shame.  Herein lies the problem of birth order. 

Sibling position is the first role children learn in life and provides a template for how to interact in other relationships.  Siblings tend to assume the same roles in relationships outside of family life.  So, if a younger sibling is used to being sheltered from adversity both by parents and an older sibling, launching without the coddling and clean up of either can be rather difficult.  

Most firstborns struggle through some hardships together with their parents.  Both learn how to navigate the parent/child relationship by trial and error.  By child number two or three, parents, despite their best intentions, are more cavalier, spread thin by life and responsibilities.  And, despite their best intentions, parents are quite incapable of raising multiple children exactly the same.  Research shows that siblings are actually quite aware of this partiality in light of parental efforts to minimize the disparity by making sure all their children feel “equally” loved. 

There is often a triangular relationship between siblings and their parents.  Parents will often qualm their anxiety about one child by lassoing the other child into the situation.  Often the older sibling will engross the parent system in conversation or agreement about the pathological nature of the younger, less independent sibling.  This can look like a behavioral grade report when a parent gets home from work.  These experiences are often internalized as a lack of confidence, which limits the younger child’s ability to build intrinsic motivation, spark creative problems solving and develop a belief in self-improvement.  The more individuated sibling, often the oldest child, has learned to be self-supporting while the less individuated child, often the youngest, becomes more emotionally entangled with the parent and less able to differentiate and develop a clear, confident sense of self. 

So how is birth order related to the recent research on Millennials?  According to a New York Times article published in 2010, Millennials are behind in all five milestones of adulthood including: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having children.  Does it make sense why Millennials can’t seem to grow up? 

The 2010 Census offered some sobering statistics on the difficulty of launching in the 21st Century.  Only 50% of Americans currently in their mid-20’s are financially independent which was defined as earning enough to support themselves and a family.  Not to mention, 63% of men and 52% of women between 18-24 years live at home with their parents.  While a Newsweek poll from 1993 found that 80% of parents interviewed believed their children should be financially independent by 22 years, a similar pole today found that parents have raised that expectation to 25 years or more.  Call them shallow.  Call them self-absorbed.  But, Millennials might actually just be suffering from younger sibling syndrome.  Maybe parents today are less inclined to deal with their own fear and anxiety and more likely to use their children as a distraction, excuse or mediator in some pretty challenging times. 

Millennials are struggling to learn resilience.  When their parents and older siblings step in to prevent danger and difficulty, Millennials are blocked from real self-discovery.  It also sparks jealousy and conflict in sibling dyads.  Both resilience and self-actualization are paramount for successful launching.  

Julia Harkleroad, MS, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Prairie Village, KS.  Julia serves children and families and runs groups on launching children for both the parents and their children.  She can be contacted at or 913.638.4791