(1993 TV Movie)

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exceptional movie
ghostlady200714 October 2008
let me introduce myself I am the niece of Jane Stafford who was my aunt and Billy Stafford was my uncle. My father Merle Stafford was his brother. This was a very turbulent time in our lives growing up and I must say this movie has brought back many memories of growing up.It is not something I talk a lot about. We did not spend a lot of time with this part of my family as you can see why. However my sister and myself were named after Jane and she was a very loving mother and lived a life of fear.I can tell you alcohol was a very aggressive factor in our lives and affected the lives of all concerned.When a individual lives in a life of fear and violence and endures the suffering inflicted on them daily how much do you think you could endure? I'm not saying she was right in shooting my uncle but I don't believe she committed suicide either.Sometimes a silent cry for help goes unheard.......
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A terrific, hard-hitting drama about an abused wife who is pushed too far. Wow.
Grady-915 April 1999
A near-perfect script uses flashback and well-laced narrative to describe the true story of a woman who endured a monstrous husband. Without giving away the plot, just know that it's a great story. Really nails the issue. Sometimes tough to watch, but more than worth it by the end. One of those rare movies that truly moves us.
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Vicious, horrifying, painful, outstanding
sonofpigmeat14 September 2010
When I first heard about this movie, I thought it would be a Lifetime Network type TV movie about an abused woman. I was expecting a glossed over story of a strong woman overcoming terrible hardships at the hands of an abusive husband. Act 2 would have her realizing she there was life outside of her marriage, and Act 3 would have her leaving the relationship and bringing her life together (probably with the help of a friend who was saying from the start that her husband was a bastard.)

I couldn't have been more wrong. This is not a heart warming story, a happy story or one that most people even want to admit can happen. With the use of flashbacks, a shockingly realistic portrayal of living with an extremely abusive person unfolds for the viewer. What is shown is surprising considering this is a CBC made for TV movie, but the director does an amazing job of expressing and building the psychological terror the family felt. For example, the scenes at the dinner table, even before anything happens, are gripping because you can feel the immense strain.

During most of the scenes at the families home, I couldn't help but think of 'Das Boot.' The feeling of claustrophobia grows until it feels like the walls are closing in and Billy is everywhere.

The end is so amazingly good, I won't even try to summarize. All I can say is that when I first watched it, it was recommended by our grade 11 law teacher so we could talk about it afterwards. This was the CBC premiere, and to be blunt, I think it permanently damaged a couple of those kids and probably damaged the teachers career.

In short, a great movie that should be seen by many more!
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Rare instance!
SnowyThing28 April 2002
It is a rare treat that such a movie comes along that hits it hard right at home on such a real and common problem... abuse. I first caught this movie in High School shown to students in a Career and Life Management class. I was not only amazed at how great the movie was, but how real it seemed. To those that might not be aware of it, this movie was based on a 'real life event' that happened earlier on. After the movie, we were shown a short documentary titled 'Life After Billy'. It showed us how the survivors of the real incident are, and what they are doing. I highly recommend this movie to anyone that either lives with, or had lived through abuse.
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kim_crowell8 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I have read the book and watched the movie of Life with Billy. First upon reading the book, I was very shocked!! The abuse that Jane Whynot suffered from him was awful, not to mention the abuse her children suffered. After reading the book I decided to rent Life with Billy and I must say it was a good thing they left a lot of things out of the movie. However, the movie is very powerful, I would highly recommend watching it. I would see this movie as being possibly a helpful tool or guideline to other women who are abused by their husbands. Shooting your husband is not the answer, however, do not let yourself go that far either! Life with Billy makes you think about the world we live in today. Why would this man do this to his own family, to only meet his death in the end. I am from Nova Scotia and I live one hour and a half hours away from where Life with Billy took place. Scary? yes it is!
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Harrowing, but necessary viewing
brooke5312 February 2012
I read the book, "Life with Billy" about a year before I actually met Jane Hurschman in a support group for abused women. This was about six months before she died, supposedly of suicide. Needless to say, this made watching the movie on TV a very personal experience.

The made-for-TV movie is so disturbing, it is at times almost unbearable. One is haunted by it afterwards. However, it pales in comparison to the book, which is very graphic in its descriptions of the barbaric things that were done to this woman.

The movie is well cast. Stephen McHattie portrays a monster all too well and Nancy Beatty's performance as the meek, subservient victim turned survivor, is heartbreaking.

This is definitely a movie that should be required viewing, whether you are interested in the topic of domestic violence or not.
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TheBlueHairedLawyer31 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
One of the best parts of being a resident of Nova Scotia is that you get access to a lot of movies filmed here: My Bloody Valentine, Pit Pony, the Bay Boy... I never expected to come across a film about an abuse and murder case that happened right here in the province! A woman, to protect herself and her children after nearly a decade of stress and abuse, shoots her pig of a husband. However she is not a cold-blooded slashing monster, she is just a frightened woman. She has to make the cops, her neighbors and friends see that, too. Billy, my god, I'll bet the actor hated playing that role. The character of Billy was a nasty, crude, fat pig who used his power over his wife and kids to get anything he wanted. There were all kids of things going on behind closed doors; mental abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. She couldn't say a word, she knew he'd find her, hurt the kids, so she made a dire plan. Great soundtrack, I can still recite the melancholy piano theme that plays as the woman drives her sleeping husband off to shoot him in my head. That music was haunting. The scenery was great; I've seen most of it just driving by, it's rather eerie. Since the murder itself happened in Nova Scotia it really makes the film more realistic. It's worth watching, the only thing I thought was unnecessary was the part where the woman testifies in court and describes in too much graphic detail the type of creepy fetish games Billy made her play at night. Creepy! Still, this is worth viewing at least once.
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