What Makes a Family (TV Movie 2001) Poster

(2001 TV Movie)

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A bold statement
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews13 April 2004
Considering that this is a made-for-TV movie, it's actually very good. A few of the actors are well-known, but most are not. They all portray the respective character believably though, I especially think that Brooke Shields & Jordy Benattar gives excellent performances; even Whoopi Goldberg did a great job. The plot is touching and interesting, and moves along at a pretty good rate. The acting is, like I mentioned a few lines up, very good, mostly. A few scenes seemed a little overly sentimental or less-than-fortunately acted, but that's only reasonably rarely, and it rarely ruins the mood. The characters were all well-written and, considering their respective personalities, they all act understandably for the entire movie. I really enjoyed the last few court scenes in the movie, and the moral questions they brought up. The entire movie presented the different moral questions very well, and really made you think. Unfortunately, it would seem that this movie, probably due to it being a TV movie, isn't very well-known, which is too bad, since it's actually very well-made for a TV movie. An excellent drama, that raises some very important questions. I recommend this to anyone who like dramas, especially dramas that pose such important moral questions. 8/10
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What a statement!
kelley17171 February 2001
I was so impressed with the story and the acting in this movie. It really moved me and I was unable to sleep after watching it. I believe LOVE transcends everything. Whether you are in a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship, Love is Love. I think it is grossly unfair for two people who love each other to not have any rights in that love just because they are the same sex. Florida needs to get with the program.

I applaud the people who produced and acted in this movie for their courage, and especially the people who had to go through this ordeal for real.
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this touched me
rainchiquita28 January 2001
I don't know what words there are to say about this movie that can begin to describe how I felt while watching it. From the brilliant script to the acting done by Brooke Shields, her partner, the adorable little girl, and everyone else, I was moved in a way that no other movie I have seen has affected me. I still cannot stop crying and it ended fifteen minutes ago... everyone, especially those who are cynical of domestic partnerships and their competence as parents, should see this movie. I was so happy to hear that it was based on a true story- how wonderful!! I only wish that I could contact the real Janine, and praise and thank her for being such a role model and pioneer in a controversial area that so desperately needs widespread recognition. Kudos to Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Cis Corman, Brooke Shields, and everyone involved in the production of this movie for their courage and integrity.
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powerhouse Brooke Shields
mischam768 January 2005
what a difference a great script and direction can do to a persons acting abilities.Brooke shields was absolutely amazing.for someone of her credible stature she certainly carried this film from beginning to end with gusto.not to mention the performance from cherry Jones.why don't we see these woman in more dramatic roles. its hard to believe that this was a made for t.v film as it may well be the most entertaining one i have ever seen,so much that i purchased it off ebay. the whole film in its entirety is well paced,well written and definitely tugs at you long after you have watched it. highly recommended as a powerful movie of morals and integrity and an opportunity to see Brooke show what she is capable of.
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Just thinking of this movie brings tears to my eyes
Mary Scott30 May 2002
Just thinking of this movie brings tears to my eyes. It was beautifully done. I admit before the movie I thought lesbiens and homosexuals had no business having children. In two short hours my opinion changed. This movie was so beautiful and it showed me it doesn't matter what your sexual preference is. Love is love. Period. I'm outraged that Florida is so backwards. They need to get with the program.

This movie is about a lesbien couple, Sandra Cataldi and Janine Nielson. Sandra, who's a dog trainer, comes from a loving middle class class family. Janine, a nurse, comes from a cold, uncaring wealthy family. She has a poor self image until she starts dating Sandra. During their relationship, she really comes into her own. Shortly after their "wedding" they decide to have a child. Sandra gets pregnant through artifical insemination. Her parents are thrilled. Janine's are not. Everything is wonderful until Sandra is diagnosed with lupas. Through the whole ordeal, her parents were warm and loving. That changed after her death. After that, Sandra's parents take the child away and Janine must fight for her child. I was holding my breath until the end. Although I was rooting for Janine, the movie doesn't make you do that. They make it so you understand both sides, which is something I loved. This movie will make you laugh and cry. Well done Brooke, Cherry, Anne, and Sandra's father and daughter.
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Fantastic movie, well done and in good taste.
liebchen4512 May 2001
This was a wonderful movie and Brooke Shields has done a fantastic job. It even brought tears to my husbands eyes as well. The little girl in the movie was beautiful and already an excellent actress. I wonder if anyone can help me. The song, I think it was called, "As long as you love me", does anyone know who sang it? I would love to have a copy of it.
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Not bad, but still cringe worthy in some ways
JowySiren10 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I love the idea of this movie. I love the fact that a lesbian fought tooth and nail keep the child and won in a State where they'd sooner give a child to a murderer than a gay person. Way to go! Nice to see the issue come up.

Two women, Sandra and Janine get married(despite the fact that it's illegal to do that) and Sandra has a child through artificial insemination. Sometime later, Sandra develops lupus and dies. Her parents try to take the girl away from Janine. In response, she fights to the bone despite the overwhelming odds against her. She's able to convince a very conservative, but ultimately fair judge that she is worthy of keeping the child.

Certainly gives you the impression that you can fight the State and win. If you have the money to do so, of course. Anyway, I do think the movie is fairly decent, but I found myself gagging at some of the overt sentiment and some of what was in the movie seemed too artificial. I don't how to describe it, but it seemed that way.

It's worth seeing at least once and it does a great job in showing just how ridiculous anti-gay laws are, especially in Florida.
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excellent work all around
blanche-26 June 2005
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.
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Thumb up
gospidipemiloi22 December 2008
A very heart-wrenching, powerful, and emotional movie that I highly recommend. A definite must-see for those who are interested in movies that relate to lesbian and gay topics, and the ongoing struggle for their full civil rights. If any movie makes the case for the ability of lesbians and gays to be loving, decent parents, it is this one. The acting was incredible, especially that of Anne Meara and Brooke Shields. They were such genuine characters, and my heart ached and my blood boiled to see what Shields's character had to go through and the prejudice she put up with just because she loved someone of the same gender. Nobody should have to go through what this mother did.
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Weird Ideas, but well acted film
Nicholas Rhodes25 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
From the cinematic point of view, this film is excellent, for this reason I give it a good vote - picture quality, music, actors' performance, and the plot itself provide plenty of interest for the spectator with not a dull moment. There is doubtless some idealization of the couple as they cannot put a foot wrong in the story and everything is calculated in the story to at least attempt to make the spectator sympathize with their plight Politically and morally, the film seems much more dubious to me and whilst two ladies living together is one thing, that they should want to have a child is pure anathema to me as we all know that to bring up a child properly requires a male and a female presence. Therefore, basically, they are not doing the child a favour by doing this and are acting out of pure but incomprehensible selfishness. The act therefore of obtaining a child by artificial ( not natural means ) is therefore reprehensible and against nature. That said, I would tend to agree with the judge on his decision that in spite of this, the remaining partner was probably the best person to bring up the child if she indeed was able to reconcile professional and family life. But as I said earlier, the film manipulates the spectator to support the remaining partner against the grand parents who are depicted as possessive and "not-so-nice" people, suddenly turning against the remaining partner after the death of their daughter which is of course unfair, as she didn't catch lupus from her partner. Their daughter's gradually deteriorating condition is genuinely painful to witness and would-be spectators should be advised that the film is indeed very distressing but of course well acted. All this tugs on the heartstrings of the viewer and why not indeed, as cinema is here to make us feel emotion.
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