6.4/10
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Her Desperate Choice (1996)

Unrated | | Drama | TV Movie 6 October 1996
Jody is convinced, but unable to prove, that her ex-husband has been molesting their daughter Samantha. When the courts order joint custody for Samantha, Jody takes her and heads ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jody Murdock
...
Jim Rossi
...
Samantha, Jody's Daughter (as Hanna R. Hall)
...
Raskin, Private Investigator
Lynne Cormack ...
Grace
...
Dr. Baskin (as Mimi Kuzak)
...
Jody's Mother
...
Marcus Perry, Jody's Ex-Husband
Philip Williams ...
Frank
...
Mike Donner
Jackie Richardson ...
Frances
Deborah Grover ...
Kathy (Shelter)
...
Marnie
Christina Collins ...
Myrna Goodman
David Huband ...
State Trooper (as Dave Huband)
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Storyline

Jody is convinced, but unable to prove, that her ex-husband has been molesting their daughter Samantha. When the courts order joint custody for Samantha, Jody takes her and heads underground. The underground is a well protected system that moves her from town to town to keep her out of the hands of the courts. Her husband is relentless in having detectives try to find Jody and Sam, but after a time, Jody begins to feel comfortable and even begins to date a veterinarian she meets in a small town. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The law failed to protect her. Now she's taking the law into her own hands. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

6 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desperate Justice  »

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User Reviews

Good enough
20 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

In Springfield, Massachusetts at 2 A.M., Jody Murdock is sneaking her daughter Samantha out of the house. The next day, her ex-husband Marcus wants to know where his daughter is. He ends up hiring a private investigator.

Jody's mother lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, so that's probably where Jody and Samantha meet Jody's mother and a friend. The friend lets Jody and Samantha stay with her because the mother's house is the first place people will look.

Soon Jody and Samantha are on the run. Jody cannot let her daughter go back to Marcus because, at long last, she has found a doctor who confirms Samantha has been abused and is not making up the stories.

At a shelter, Jody is given the phone number for Grace, who is able to make connections that will let Jody hide anywhere in the country. Just as the African-American slaves in the pre-Civil War South had their Underground Railroad, children in Samantha's situation have one too.

Jody makes a number of mistakes. For example, she cannot completely cut herself off from contact with her mother. Every few days, she and Samantha have to take off again. But no matter where they go, they find helpful people.

In one small town, they finally are able to settle down because of a helpful diner owner named Frank and a veterinarian-in-training named Jim. But is their ordeal finally over?

Mike Donner is a reporter who publicizes the problem of child abuse in cases where a parent has to flee to protect the child. Maybe his efforts will be helpful.

Faith Ford does a good job here. Whether or not her character is smart enough to do everything right, she does come across as strong yet vulnerable.

Young Hanna Hall has a number of good scenes. In one, she gives a disturbingly realistic reaction to what might be considered a normal situation, but for a child who has been abused, it is truly frightening.

Depite its serious tone, the film is not totally without humor. I especially liked a scene where Jody and Samantha discussed what names they should use. But come on ... Sammy? Isn't that a little obvious?

Kyle Secor does a great job as a trusted friend and ally that this family desperately needs. Nigel Bennett is also quite good as the private investigator who makes the family's lives miserable.

Also, Lynne Cormack deserves mention as the wonderful woman who did so much for Jody and Samantha. But I cannot believe one truly moronic action by this character, as loving a gesture as it was!

I didn't get her name, and perhaps that's the best thing where so much anonymity is necessary, but one of the best performances came from a black actress playing one of the angels that provided temporary shelter.

If the film had any weaknesses, they were supposedly based on the reality of Jody and Samantha's adventure. If any of the problems with this movie were actually invented--well, no wonder they had so much trouble; these people didn't always do the most intelligent things.

To justify what Jody did, one has to truly believe Samantha was abused. This film does nothing to dispute that, so we are supposed to root for Jody and never mind the law. I was able to do just that. And I enjoyed the movie most of the time.


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