Life with Billy (1993 TV Movie)
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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!
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.