Uncommonly haunting telefilm about an abandoned child's affect on a rural island family.
This strangely affecting film has the look and feel of a well-produced indie film. "Baby" is exquisitely shot and uniformly well-acted - propelling it miles above the sea of mediocrity that is TV. The deliberate pace avoids cliched melodrama in favor of character development. Although quiet and slow, "Baby" is well-worth sticking with.
I don't want to give too much away, but the central family (played by Farrah Fawcett, Keith Carridine, Jean Stapleton and Alison Pill) is scarred from a tragedy in the past. The arrival of an abandoned baby simultaneously wreaks havoc and brings joy upon the family. Producer Glenn Close offers affecting narratioin that never becomes obtrusive.
It's nice to see Farrah sporting dark hair, with her wrinkles in full glory as Lily. This is her best role in years, and she radiates warmth and (flawed) humanity. Be warned, though, her non-sex symbol appearance will be a bit jarring.
Stapelton has never been better as Bird, erasing any memory of her beloved Edith Bunker portrayal within her first seconds onscreen. As Lily's husband, Carridine has risen from TV B-movie hell to give a subtle performance that ranks as his finest work since 1975's "Nashville."
The real revelation here, however, is young newcomer Alison Pill. She simply rocks and deserves a career marked by longevity and accolades. Her eyes parlay a wealth of emotions, sometimes with little or no dialogue. Her work here ranks with the best performances from young actors (i.e. Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon," Haley Joel Osment in "The Sixth Sense") and neatly avoids being cutesy and annoying.
If you liked "Good Will Hunting," "Ordinary People" or "One True Thing," this flick could be for you. Give it a chance.
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