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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Depressingly accurate child-abuse potboiler

8/10
Author: Ankhoryt from Washington, DC
27 September 1999

Frederic Forrest does a fine job as the emotionally and physically abusive father in this early entry in the "dysfunctional family" genre. Here's a toast to all the actors who have to do the dirty job of making child abusers, rapists, and wife-beaters come alive on screen; it must be harrowing, thankless work.

The writer and director should get credit too, for giving Forrest the lines and settings for his truly creepy performance. All the actors did well -- Justine Bateman was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Deborah Jahnke -- but Forrest should get special kudos. (Don't you wonder if anyone would eat lunch with him on the set? or if they shunned him for the duration?)

The film's mission of revealing the gaps in our domestic violence policies works as well as a drama as a political statement. A teacher is slow to believe; a social worker questions the kids and mother about abuse in front of the abuser; the rural home has no near neighbors and the rural community presumably has limited shelter resources.

Gossip in town that acquitting the Wyoming teen will be a "license to kill" for other abused kids not only reflects this case (the writers relied on interviews, transcripts, and news reports), but echoes what was said about one of the first battered wives to go on trial for killing an abuser in Michigan, years before.

Watch it if you've got a strong stomach or a strong interest in domestic violence. Otherwise, it's too much of a downer to qualify as "entertainment," despite the excellent performances and powerful script.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Depressing but good

Author: TC Raymond from England
9 August 2003

Well, this isn't the kind of film to watch with a beer and a curry, that's for sure. It's depressing, jarring and absolutely disturbing, but it'll keep you watching right to the end, and the performances are uncomfortably good. Forrest excells as a near-psychotic, short-fused macho man who moves his vulnerable family to the middle of nowhere and proceeds to physically and psychologically bully and torture them. His wife seems unable to break away, his kids try to break the cycle but only run up against brick walls, so his son (another good performance by Collet) is eventually forced to take extreme measures to save his family. It's an interesting touch that Forrest never vents his rage on the family's pets, a near-cliched trademark of numerous mean-spirited psycho movies. It adds an extra dimension to an already towering performance that he obviously only gets his sadistic kicks from inflicting pain on human beings, or more precisely, his nearest and dearest. Made for TV and shot in drained, miserable-looking pastel shades, RIGHT TO KILL? won't make you feel good, but it will make you think.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A typical 80's movie about a dysfunctional family

Author: Sabrina Nixon (sbrnnxn@ameritech.net) from United States
7 May 2002

I was a senior in high school when this movie came on tv. I really enjoyed it and it showed Justine Bateman in rare form (totally different from her role in Family Ties). It sort of reminded me of the days when my parents were really strict(about going to prom, dances, parties,etc), but this movie takes the cake. Dysfunction at its worse. I highly recommend this movie if you can find it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Truly thought provoking movie.

7/10
Author: steve-862 from London, England
1 April 2002

This film was not what I usually watch. I am into Sci-Fi and Horror mainly so when I started watching this one night I didn't expect to stay with it until the end. I'm glad I did. I now have it on video.

The story is based on true events involving a violent Husband and Father who inflicts physical and mental abuse on his wife and children for what he sees as their weaknesses and failings. The family move around the country quite often and each time they hope it will be a new beginning. Because of the regular moves nobody outside the family ever notices that anything is wrong. So after this last move, to the middle of nowhere and when the violence gets more serious what should they do?

The acting from all the main characters is excellent, the film relies upon the performance of these actor's portrayal of the abuse and how it effects them. You will not see many more compelling films than this one and unless you like only Sci-Fi and Horror to the total exclusion of everything else then you will enjoy this film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Where are they now??

7/10
Author: judybug-1 from United States
23 August 2006

I seen this movie when it first aired years ago and I have always wondered about Richard and Deborah and how they are doing and where they are now. When I first saw this movie my heart went out to them both....I ,if I were a juror then,could not have sent them to jail. Does anyone know how they are doing? I have searched the internet and cannot as of yet find any information.I have never forgotten these poor kids. If anyone has any info,I would greatly appreciate it. I know that they are in their early 40's at present and I hope they are free and having a good productive life after growing up in such an abusive household. Thanks so much!

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