5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Gets by on a good story
musicboater from United States
22 August 2005
This film is was made in 1995 as a television drama for a broadcast
network. The film is a made-for-TV-movie and thus has all of the
elements that make it a mediocre, predictable, well, television movie.
The fact that the story is based (and at times the exact same) on true
events that occurred to the Hawkins family is the only real reason the
film is worthwhile watching.
Lea Thompson plays Brianne Hawkins, a woman suffering from mental and
physical abuse from her family members, particularly her husband, Clay.
The plot builds when she and Clay are found guilty of murder and she
helps create a story to keep them out of prison...and the rest is
Thompson's acting is above average (for a television film), and her
portrayal of Brianne is authentic. In addition, the abusive husband
Clay, played by James Marshall (who is normally known for easy-going,
kind characters) is also above par. Marshall's roles are usually
hit-and-miss, although this character is performed quite well. The
audience identifies with all of the characters and finds sympathy with
Brianne and the Cleary family.
Peter Werner, an old expert at television film, shows us nothing new
with the film, but gives us the typical melodrama that comes with a TV
film. It seems, during certain scenes, that Werner could add more
direction to both the cinematography and the acting, as they seem stale
and overused at times. Werner does do a good job, however, instilling
some underlying themes in the film, and gives the viewer the chance to
think about the situation and reflect upon values and morals.
Mark Snow's music is great in its own right, but at times Werner seems
as if he doesn't know when to place it. Overall, however, the jazzy,
suspenseful feel Snow gives the audience is acceptable.
I would recommend this film to anyone who has studied the Brianne
Hawkins's case, and to anyone who is a fan of Werner, Thompson, or
Marshall. Otherwise, this film shows nothing particularly exciting. The
fact the story is true--to a certain extent--makes the film worthwhile,
but it's not something I recommend people rushing to buy or rent. If
you're looking for a two-hour time passer, I'd suggest one give it a
shot, but don't prioritize this film above much else.
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