This is the finest acting I know of. Previous to this the only part I knew Jane Horrocks for was that of Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous. Her performance in Suffer the Little Children is everything that Bubble was not, serious, intense, and mature. She re-enacts the story of Deborah Hayes, a woman tried for murder when she killed her second baby. Both children were born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a crippling disease of the spinal cord. The film is composed solely of a police interview where Mrs. Hayes gives her account of the tragic circumstances that befell her two young children. After the death of Michael, her second son, she had attempted to commit suicide; the act of a desperate women who had stoically, and cheerfully, endured many years of caring for her ill children. I know not how to describe Jane Horrocks' performance in this role, you have to see it to understand just how extraordinary it is. Hard it is to believe that such a case would be brought to court, but is was, and Mrs. Hayes' plea of not being guilty of murder was accepted. Her plea of being guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was also accepted and she was sentenced to one year's probation.
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