Filmmaker Needed 35 Years to Discover Secret Abuse

Jennifer Fox explores her own childhood relationship
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2018 2:00 PM CDT
Common, from left, Isabelle Nelisse, Jennifer Fox, Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Jason Ritter attend HBO's "The Tale" FYC Event at the Landmark Theatre on Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Filmmaker Jennifer Fox didn't know she had such a personal sexual-abuse story to tell. Now with The Tale appearing on HBO, Fox's long-repressed childhood trauma has hit the small screen with a stellar cast including Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, Salon reports. Praised at the Sundance Film Festival, The Tale depicts a character named Jennifer Fox who learns she had been sexually abused by her coach (played by Jason Ritter) and his female accomplice—only because Fox's mom (Burstyn) finds a story called "The Tale" that Fox wrote when she was 13. Which Fox says is all too true:

  • The call: Fox was making the TV documentary series Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman about women who'd been sexually abused. "What I was hearing sounded so much like my own little private story that I called a relationship, there was this seismic crack in my body," she tells Salon. "Then soon after, my mom did find 'The Tale,' and called me, hysterical about it. ... When I read 'The Tale,' I was just shocked again because there was sexual abuse all over it, but as a child I didn't see that."

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