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A Family Divided (1995)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 22 January 1995
College swimmer Chad Billingsley is his middle class family's pride and joy. After a moody phase of scared denial, he owns up to father, attorney Roger, that Rosalie Frank, the ... See full summary »

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(novel), (teleplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Karen Billingsley
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Roger Billingsley
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Chad Billingsley
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Carter
Diane D'Aquila ...
Inez Frank
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Johnny Dickson
Aidan Pendleton ...
Melissa Billingsley
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Det. Larson
Cylk Cozart
Mavor Moore ...
Vernon
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Todd
Andy Skelly ...
Jackson
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Rosalie Frank
Andrea Nemeth ...
Cindy
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Jennifer
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Storyline

College swimmer Chad Billingsley is his middle class family's pride and joy. After a moody phase of scared denial, he owns up to father, attorney Roger, that Rosalie Frank, the provocatively dressed waitress who attended his frat's last party and is missing since, had sex with five of them. Roger does his utmost to prevent the potential statutory rape case ruining his son's future, but confides in his moralistic wife, refuge house worker Karen, who instead of supporting the boys haunts them like Rosalie's mother Inez, with multiple tragic results. Written by KGF Vissers

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

22 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mother Love  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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They had their tears to shed
5 March 1999 | by (WA) – See all my reviews

People cry a lot in "A Family Divided." I suppose this would make sense, due to the fact that their normal little lives are shaken up after their son is thought to have participated in a gang rape. Now the family doesn't know to believe him, to save him, etc. They become...divided over the issue. And this makes them cry...a lot.

Faye Dunaway plays the mother, and this makes her the main source of the tears. She happens to think that her son played a strong part in the gang-rape...so she cries. She does not approve of the actions her husband is taking to defend the son...so she cries some more. She tries to talk to her son about this...more waterworks. And on and on it goes. To give the character and the movie credit, I can imagine most mother's falling apart if ever faced with such a situation. I just wish it was depicted quite so often. I mean, crying is sort of a private thing, so why was Faye making a spectacle out of herself? If she had wasted less time crying and more time trying to listen to her son, than I believe the family would not have had to be so divided.

Actually, the son had quite a few tears to shed himself, but this time I was glad. For one thing, the crying scenes helped raise my respect for Cameron Bancroft's acting ability. I had seen CB in a few other films, but never has he given such a touching and emotional performance. For another, for each tear shed, the audience is able to see the genuine human side behind a boy that commit such a crime. I'm not saying that being sorry means that he should not have been punished. Hiding the crime does not exactly help much either, but it makes it easier to see that this was an act caused by a good person who has done wrong, and probably would have acted differently if given the opportunity.

I suppose that "A Family Divided" was made to make people feel sad about the family's crisis, which could explain the numerous "crying scenes."It also made me think a little bit about the rights and wrongs done by Bancroft's character. Since many TV movies seem to be either brainless to me, if not formulatic and cliched that they don't even leave you with issues to ponder over, than I guess it serves as an achievement that this one was able to. I also thought about how well-cast Bancroft was, and how he even seemed sort of Emmy-worthy. I guess the one somewhat low point would be that when Dunaway kept bawling in every other scene, I began to think mean thoughts like "isn't that getting a little overdone?"


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