What Makes a Family (2001)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  22 January 2001 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 567 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 2 critic

A lesbian, artificially inseminated, gives birth, then dies, and her companion must fight to regain custody of the child from the dead woman's grandparents.


0Check in
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Truth About Jane (TV Movie 2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A high-school girl's first sexual experience is with another girl, and, along with her first broken heart, she must deal with her mother's reaction to her revelation that she is a lesbian and with ostracism at school.

Director: Lee Rose
Stars: Stockard Channing, Ellen Muth, Kelly Rowan
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An uptight and conservative woman, working on tenure as a literacy professor at a large urban university, finds herself strangely attracted to a free-spirited, liberal woman who works at a local carnival that comes to town.

Director: Patricia Rozema
Stars: Pascale Bussières, Rachael Crawford, Henry Czerny
An Unexpected Love (TV Movie 2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An unhappily married housewife and mother of two children (Leslie Hope) seperates from her husband and gets a new job where she developes a mutual attraction to her female boss (Wendy Crewson).

Director: Lee Rose
Stars: Leslie Hope, Wendy Crewson, D.W. Moffett
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A 2008 romance film adapted from a same name novel about a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian descent, Tala, who is preparing for an elaborate wedding. A turn of events causes her to ... See full summary »

Director: Shamim Sarif
Stars: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth, Antonia Frering
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

Director: Jamie Babbit
Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Michelle Williams
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The true story of a decorated officer's legal challenge to her involuntary discharge when she admitted she was homosexual.

Director: Jeff Bleckner
Stars: Glenn Close, Judy Davis, Jan Rubes
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A day in the life of two film-school students trying to find love and another house-mate.

Director: Emma-Kate Croghan
Stars: Frances O'Connor, Alice Garner, Matt Day
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Residents of the fictional town of Azalea Springs, Texas go into a panic after a gay local says the town's water supply is what made him gay.

Director: Kelli Herd
Stars: Keri Jo Chapman, Teresa Garrett, Derrick Sanders
Show Me Love (1998)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two teenage girls in small-town Sweden. Elin is beautiful, popular, and bored with life. Agnes is friendless, sad, and secretly in love with Elin.

Director: Lukas Moodysson
Stars: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson
The Real L Word: Los Angeles (TV Series 2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A nine episode one-hour series that follows a group of real-life Los Angeles lesbians as they go about their daily lives, at work and play.

Stars: Whitney Mixter, Alyssa Morgan, Kacy Boccumini
A Friend to Die For (TV Movie 1994)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Angela Delvecchio for some reason transfers from a Catholic school to a public school in the same town. She proceeds to try to make friends with the most popular girl in school which leads ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Graham
Stars: Kellie Martin, Tori Spelling, James Avery
Good Fences (TV Movie 2003)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Good Fences is about an upwardly mobile black family for whom the American dream becomes a nightmare. Set in the 1970s, Tom Spader is an attorney who is determined to end what he has dubbed... See full summary »

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Zachary Simmons Glover


Credited cast:
Janine Nielssen
Sandy Cataldi
Evelyn Cataldi
Al Waxman ...
Frank Cataldi
Terry Harrison
Jordy Benattar ...
Heather Cataldi
Sean McCann ...
Judge Black
Philip Williams ...
Martin Crane
Judge Shales
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Reverend Greg Wasney


Brooke Shields believes she has finally found happiness, now that she and her lesbian partner (Cherry Jones) have a child. But when Jones passes away five years later and her scheming parents apply for custody behind Shields' back, an affecting struggle ensues. Written by <tom@fave.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Because she loved a woman, she may lose the right to keep her child.




See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A másik anya  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


At Sandy and Janine's reception, Nora makes a comment to which Sandy replies "I'm going to let that go because this is my wedding day and I am a vision" followed by Sandy and Janine giving each other cake. Later in the film, when Janine is searching for items for her attorney, she begins playing the reception video of which a portion can be seen on Janine's TV. We see the two giving each other cake, then a moment later we hear (from the video still playing) Sandy making the statement to Nora - reversed sequence from the original reception scene. See more »


As Long As You Love (Scarlet Wings)
Written and Performed by Cindy Bullens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

excellent work all around
6 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a beautifully realized TV movie about the fight of a lesbian, played by Brooke Shields, to regain custody of the child she and her partner were raising when her lover (beautifully portrayed by Cherry Jones) dies. Shields has to fight the Florida court system, her lover's parents and her own parents, who reject her lifestyle. Because her lover, Sandra, was artificially inseminated, Sandra's parents take the child and want custody. The backward laws in Florida make it a tough battle for Janine.

The film attempts to give every side of the story in a balanced manner. Janine's pain - and the love she has for the child - are apparent throughout. Shields does a wonderful job. The film also shows the devotion Janine and Sandra had to one another, the level of their commitment, and the horror of Sandra's death. This is an excellent movie, which may open some people's minds.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The song!!! playboybunnie_215455
HELP!! fabGirl
update from the movie smoove_a_listic
Who plays Janine's mother???? JordanMommy769
Where can I find info about the story this is based on? wolverene13
real names? moonbeam31
Discuss What Makes a Family (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: