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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Transcends the cliches of its genre

Author: budikavlan from Irving, TX
23 October 2002

This movie epitomizes two telefilm genres (the Sunday Night Tearjerker and the Lifetime Movie) but towers above most examples of both. It aired as a two-parter; the first half told the story of a woman's murder by her husband and his eventual arrest for the crime, while the second concerned the custody battle over the couple's son between her sister (Bertinelli) and his parents (Huddleston and Fletcher).

The first half retains an admirable level of tension throughout, though the crime isn't ever really a mystery. Thankfully, the actual crime is not shown, though the filmmakers found a better way to convey its brutality: the final shot of the first half of the show is one of the most shocking sights I've ever seen on television.

The custody battle in the second part is less suspenseful but raises several interesting questions. The cultural bias by the killer's parents against the evil, urban, ethnic (Italian) family of the victim had some resonance in their son's marriage. Not to overgeneralize, but a friend of mine was married to a man from rural Indiana and his family was a LOT like the people in this film. The filmmakers clearly sided with wife's family on this point--the "moral" Hoosiers are both unattractive and unpleasant. The question of how their "heartland values" produced their monster of a son is never really addressed.

The performances are uniformly excellent and often surprising. Bertinelli and Chris Meloni as her husband prove to be far more than a couple of (very) pretty faces, as does Michael Ontkean as the cold blooded killer. It is important that this not get lost by being lumped in with the scores of similar but inferior TV movies.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The best movie I've seen

Author: jmanr
12 December 2004

I think this movie is one of my most favorite movies on lifetime. I have seen it about 3 or 4 times on lifetime and always wondered when they will release it on DVD. I am amazed how Valerie Bertinelli played a grieving sister who wants to put away her sisters husband and also get custody of her sisters son. She is a wonderful actress, who wont let nothing or no one in her way of getting what should be done. The law enforcers also played a good deed for the grieving family. This movie shows how the law works sometimes, and as for Valerie Bertinelli's character, she did not stop til she and her family won all the way. This movie will have you teary-eyed and thinking how a person could do this to his wife and have his parents believe what he said. I think his family should serve time for helping their son. After you see this movie, you will still think about this movie, you will talk about this movie to your friends. I admire everyone who played in this movie and think they are good actors and actresses.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Movie

10/10
Author: StrwberryShortcake26 from United States
2 June 2004

This is a wonderful made for TV movie that I would highly recommend. It is a tearjerker, so be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy. All though it is long (four hours with commercials) it is worth watching every moment of it over and over again. Valerie Bertinelli's portrayal of a grieving sister is one that should have gotten her at least a nomination for an award, if not won it. The supporting cast is amazing in ever sense of the word as well. This movie cannot be truly appreciated unless you've seen it with your own two eyes. In A Child's Name manages to tap every emotion known to man--sadness, anger, fear and joy. It is certainly a movie that will instantly become a favorite. I am patiently awaiting its release on DVD (hopefully).

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great movie - I saw it made.

10/10
Author: Scubadiverbob from United States
28 December 2005

I was at some of the filming of this movie (in Wilmington, NC)and it was great. I was also involved in the investigation of this crime.

People always want to know if the book (made first) and the movie are as what actually happened. My answer is that both are Very Close to the actual facts in the matter.

There are some minor differences between the book and the movie but nothing of any value that would drastically change anything. If you have seen the movie - get the book and read it. The book has some of the trial of Dr. Taylor and the movie covers almost nothing of the trial. A forensic pathologist (Doctor)testified at the trial - and the same Dr. testified in OJ's trial.

Questions? Let me know. Bob

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is the best true story movie I have ever seen.

10/10
Author: misty_2001sc
25 July 2001

This movie is heartwarming and a real tearjerker. I have a copy of it on tape, and I watch it all the time. I never get tired of watching the Taylor's get what they deserved. I really enjoyed watching it over and over again.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Kudos to Valerie Bertinelli-

8/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
19 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

as Angela Cimarelli, the concerned sister who realizes something is awry with her sister's "perfect" marriage.

Her sister marries Michael Ontkean- (what families of low income may have considered a prize) he is a dentist, with great future potential earnings. He cheats on her, has several affairs, and when she returns from Acapulco after the honeymoon, she has already been physically abused. Only Angela has the first instinct: something is wrong.

This is a haunting tale because it is based on a true story. At first the family is in denial. Louise Fletcher is Ontkeans mother. ..."Dear God they live here?"... she intones as she meets the future daughter in law (Cimarelli family in NY). Apparently Ontkeans family is from Indiana. Whether or not they actually drove an over-sized RV to the wedding (I would question that fact) but the differences in family background (religion and social strata) are delineated at the outset.

Ontkean eventually buys the obligatory over-priced house, has a thriving practice, and is finally in control (he thinks) he can even pop home at lunchtime- do a few lines of cocaine and go back to his work as an oral surgeon. His life is perfect.

Then his wife informs him she is pregnant. (Stop the cameras, his reaction is priceless) Apparently this did not fit into his plans. His wife has the baby but clearly this is a mere inconvenience to him.

The scenes where he disposes of the body, and the inter-actions between the sisters are very emotional. The scenes with the police, and when they investigate the home where the murder has been committed, using Luminol, are disturbing and effective. Louise Fletcher (Ontkeans Mom) asks the police why the bedroom is "glowing". ..."Because of the blood and DNA stains, M'am" ...the police factually answer. She still denies that her son is capable of murder. UNREAL.

It is sad that the baby lost her mother, but Bertinelli (the Cimarelli family) eventually adopt the child. A positive outcome in a truly disturbing true story. Best thoughts and prayers go out to the Cimarelli family and the pain they must have lived through. Stories like this NEED to be told. 8/10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Justice Is Great

10/10
Author: RaeganBeaumont_99 from United States
15 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is nothing better than seeing someone who is straight up evil and heartless get what is coming to them. This movie was a tragic story but one that had a great ending. A man marries a young woman and beats her almost to death on their honeymoon, although the wife vows he didn't do it, only to find out for sure later that he did. After having a son with this man, he precedes to beat her to death, cleans up the murder and drives around with her body in his car for a week. Once he is found out, he makes up an outlandish story about why he did what he did. His sister-in-law (Valerie Bertinelli) fights to get her nephew back and to prove that he is trying to keep her from doing that. Pregnant and losing her sister she is emotional but she is strong and angry and knows exactly what this man is about, hes a liar. Hes a wife beater and she isn't going to let it go. Sharing custody with his parents they fight with everything they have, finding a lawyer to actually help their cause and get her nephew back. In the end thats exactly what she does. Getting custody and raising her nephew along side her own new daughter. Its a true story of a sister fighting for what she knows is right. Fighting for what she knew her sister would have wanted for her child. She doesn't give up and she doesn't quit. Its a touching movie, a sad movie and a horrendous sight a how someone could brutally kill another the way her husband did. He paid for what he did and he will never see his child again. A good movie, a must see.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Yes, Virginia -- Valerie Bertinelli _can_ act

Author: julikell from United States
19 May 2001

I usually don't watch the junk on Lifetime, but I'm on a Valerie Bertinelli binge. (I'm just recovering from my Deborah Kerr binge.) This is what so-called "women's television" should be -- a compelling story (Whether it's "true" or not has never been a selling point with me.), very well-drawn characters, and a solid script. If you'll pardon the screenwriter's lingo, the set-up was one of the best I've ever seen. The Silvano family was colorful without being a parody of Italian-Americans. Each member was presented as an individual as well a part of the whole. Finally, I first realized Valerie Bertinelli (VB) was (and is) one darn good actress when I saw her in "The Haunting of Helen Walker." Another exception to the usual Lifetime TV fare, I was floored by VB's performance -- solid, subtle without being underacted, giving her own interpretation to a well-known character. In "In a Child's Name," VB gives another very good performance, presenting a well-rounded character -- recognizable and one-of-a kind at the same time. Yep, one darn good actress...

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Best True Story Movie You'll Ever Watch!

10/10
Author: therese_allie from United States
1 September 2014

Although it's a messed up story, it is the most memorable true story movie I have ever watched. I remember watching it when it first aired when I was 12 with my mom, and have watched it several times since. It is a movie that once you watch it, you never forget it. And it's was a two part movie so it is almost 3 hours long. You are on the edge of your seat the whole time. Such a great cast too & they did such a good job. I haven't read the book yet but look forward to reading it. At least at the end, he gets what he deserves! This is not your typical Lifetime movie. If you like watching true story movies like I do, this is definitely one to watch :)

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The story of my daughter

10/10
Author: jewels021064 from United States
6 April 2009

I saw this movie many yrs ago and I thought it was so heart wrenching. the cast was great. The story really hits home with me now my daughter died March 16th 2009 hiking in Eagle creek on the trail. She fell to her death 100 ft. Her whole entire family including her friends thinks her boyfriend pushed her. They share a child together and he was living in Portland close by to me and my daughter and the baby. since she's passed he's taken the baby to live in Bend with his parents who I think are evil people. He's limiting my time with my grand daughter and is now trying to get my 19 yr old daughter to be with him and he took out a life insurance policy on her 3 months before she died for more than what he insured himself for. This is all I'm going to say about it. I love my daughter very much and I know she would want me to raise her child. I'm going to fight with everything I have to get custody of her.

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