Based upon a true story. Wife with young family finds life becoming unbearable with her successful, but violent and abusive, husband. After filing for divorce, she quickly learns that her ... See full summary »
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Robert Allan Ackerman
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Mel Harris is Liz Hammett, a pro-choice Los Angeles lawyer who sues her sister Kelly Porter (Valerie Bertinelli) so that she will follow the instructions of her doctor. Kelly is pregnant and suffering from a paracardial constriction that puts her life and that of her foetus at risk, but as a pro-lifer she refuses her doctor's recommendation of a therapeutic abortion to save her life.
Although Bertinelli is direct and simple, she spends most of her time bed-ridden, and she doesn't have Harris' Garbo-esque grandeur. Liz is dressed in a lot of black, and Harris looks particularly sensual in a floor-length low cut negligee for a drunk scene, and with a grey raincoat in another scene and nod to Garbo. For the trial, Harris is given a 60-ish beehive hairdo and she is presented unflatteringly in sunlight, but otherwise her shoulder length brown-streaked black hair is loose. She is funny in her anger at her `brain dead' family who are all pro-life except for her, and in retort to Kelly's husband Bob (Brian McNamara) who tells her she is on different plane to them when she replies `Yeah. Earth'.
The teleplay by Vickie Patik plays Liz off Kelly, with Kelly presented as an earth mother pregnant with her 5th child, and Liz chided for having had an abortion and accused of having no maternal instinct, which is patently not true when we see Liz babysitting and the way she contends with the tantrums of Kelly's children. Liz' legal stance is that Kelly's position deprives the rights of her living children, with Kelly's lawyer uses the pro-choice Roe vs Wade argument which ironically Kelly does not believe in. Patik doesn't submit to melodrama though `Natural childbirth is like playing Russian Roulette and this little bullet is gonna kill her' is regrettable. Director Eric Laneuville uses some subjective camera, and silence in an emergency room, and pro-life demonstrators co-ercing a woman who attempts to enter an abortion clinic seen to be more hostile than God-loving helpful.
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