MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 8,303 this week

Just Ask My Children (2001)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  10 September 2001 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 539 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 1 critic

A pedophilia witch-hunt is started in Bakersfield by two teenage girls' foppish child abuse claims. Blindly ambitious justice officials, especially in the prosecutor's office, conspire to ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1134 titles
created 19 Nov 2011
 
a list of 24 titles
created 12 Feb 2012
 
a list of 2474 titles
created 20 Jan 2013
 
a list of 3570 titles
created 14 May 2013
 
a list of 8786 titles
created 08 Sep 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001)

Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Just Ask My Children.
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Shameful Secrets (TV Movie 1993)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Behind the facade of a perfect suburban life lies a secret and insufferable nightmare: a woman and her children are subjected to their father's unpredictable temper and violent outbursts. ... See full summary »

Director: David Carson
Stars: Joanna Kerns, Tim Matheson, LaTanya Richardson
One of Her Own (TV Movie 1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Trainee police officer Toni Stroud (Loughlin) has just gotten her first report card from her superiors; straight A's. But a fellow officer has something else in mind, and asks to stay at ... See full summary »

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Lori Loughlin, Greg Evigan, Valerie Landsburg
A Mother's Revenge (TV Movie 1993)
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A girl is beaten and raped by someone from the school, but he doesn't go to prison because there is no proof about it. Now, the girl's mother tries to reveal the truth...

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Lesley Ann Warren, Bruce Davison, Shirley Knight
Snap Decision (TV Movie 2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Single mother Jennifer Bradley often lets her young children run around and frolic at home in diapers, underwear or even the bare. She thinks nothing of it when their godmother Carrie Dixon... See full summary »

Director: Alan Metzger
Stars: Mare Winningham, Felicity Huffman, Chelcie Ross
Dangerous Child (TV Movie 2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A divorced mother faces the bitter irony of being suspected of child abuse when in fact her own teen son is taking verbal and physical swipes at her.

Director: Graeme Campbell
Stars: Delta Burke, Ryan Merriman, Vyto Ruginis
If Someone Had Known (TV Movie 1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young wife and mother is abused by her husband and keeps the secret from her friends and family.

Director: Eric Laneuville
Stars: Kellie Martin, Kevin Dobson, Linda Kelsey
Gone in the Night (TV Movie 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A husband and wife find themselves accused of the murder of their own daughter.

Director: Bill L. Norton
Stars: Shannen Doherty, Kevin Dillon, Lawrence Hanson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Drama, based on a true story, about a teenage girl, Diana, who inadvertently is sucked into the world of prostitution by her boyfriend-turned-pimp, A.J., whom starts abusing her and ... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Bowman
Stars: Linda Gray, Jamie Luner, James Eckhouse
Eye of the Stalker (TV Movie 1995)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A college student is stalked by a disturbed older man.

Director: Reza Badiyi
Stars: Brooke Langton, Joanna Cassidy, Jere Burns
Stop at Nothing (TV Movie 1991)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A woman believes that her husband is molesting their daughter. Unfortunately she can't prove it, so when the courts grant him custody, she is approached by a woman who went through the same... See full summary »

Director: Chris Thomson
Stars: Veronica Hamel, Lindsay Frost, David Ackroyd
A Child's Cry for Help (TV Movie 1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A recently widowed doctor moves with her daughter to start at a new hospital. While there a loving mother brings her son in for treatment. The doctor suspects that there is something wrong,... See full summary »

Director: Sandor Stern
Stars: Veronica Hamel, Pam Dawber, Daniel Hugh Kelly
When No One Would Listen (TV Movie 1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jessica has been married to her controlling husband Gary for years.The abuse only gets worse when she gets a job at a bakery and makes two really caring friends: her co-worker and neighbor Lee, and her boss Walter.

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Michele Lee, James Farentino, John Spencer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Brenda Kniffen
...
...
Denver Dunn
...
Sam Bennis
...
Marilyn Kniffen
...
Michael Snedeker
...
Andrew Gindes
...
Dick Kniffen
...
Kevin Conway
...
Corene Oliver
...
...
...
...
...
Edit

Storyline

A pedophilia witch-hunt is started in Bakersfield by two teenage girls' foppish child abuse claims. Blindly ambitious justice officials, especially in the prosecutor's office, conspire to arrest loving parents Scott and Brenda Kniffen, whose doted pre-teen sons Brian and Brandon are grilled endlessly until they repeat the vicious lies, the elder even ends up believing them while they pass from one foster home to the next, as even the grandparents are denied custody for not turning on their children. The defense's rights are systematically denied, so the parents go to jail for 240 years. The boys are near adulthood when the political tide finally turns. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

abuse | jail | custody | child abuse | boy | See All (11) »

Taglines:

Convicted of child abuse by a system out of control See more »

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Best Intentions  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Brenda Kniffen: Every night I pray and every morning I wake up to an empty room.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A 10 is too low a rating for this movie
11 January 2006 | by (Klagenfurt, Austria) – See all my reviews

I have never before in my entire life seen a movie which dealt so strongly and so stirringly with the most profound and most common human emotion of all: love within a family. I felt emotionally attached to the Kniffen family as if I were a member of their kin. The emotional roller-coaster this movie provides is substantial and will not let go of you. This is because of the unbelievable injustice and the outrageous mistake committed by the legal system of the United States.

Just Ask My Children is a true story, elaborating on the tragedy of the Kniffen family in 1982. This was the time of a nation-wide witch-hunt that tore dozens of families apart and brought many innocent parents into jail. Scott and Brenda Kniffen (Jeff Nordling and Virginia Madsen) live a happy life with their two boys Brandon, age 9, and six-year-old Brian. When wrong allegations of child abuse cause a state-wide hysteria, they find themselves in a harrowing nightmare. Without a shred of evidence, the Kniffens are arrested and their two sons are taken away from them and put into the custody of social services. There the impressionable boys are brainwashed, confused and utterly manipulated by a malicious prosecutor in his relentless ambition to put the Kniffens into prison. In court they testify against their own parents, which convinces the jury beyond the reasonable doubt that Brenda and Scott Kniffen are guilty of committing the heinous crimes they are accused of in the indictment. They are sentenced to 240 years each, the longest sentences ever imposed in Kern County. Scott and Brenda spend twelve years behind bars, suffering and praying to God, while their boys are put from foster home to foster home, confused and emotionally scarred.

The movie gains all its strength from this single, but tremendously strong theme. While following the developments of the story, the tragedy and the hardships imposed on this innocent couple makes everyone unwilling to believe that such an outrageous thing could have actually happened not yet 20 years ago. The reference to medieval witch trials occasionally surfaces in the story and makes the audience even more aware of how merciless the system can be in case of utter failure.

The toughest and most brilliant aspect this movie deals with is how the family is effected by the verdict. The story of the boys, as they mature and question their own past is wonderfully adapted to their emotional turmoil. Scott's parents and their continuous fight to prove the innocence of their son and Brenda is stunning in its passion and desperate commitment. The movie features various heart-breaking scenes that will leave you emotionally drained and makes you aware of how much suffering the family has to bear. The tragedy hits you so strong because you know the truth, and you feel so sorry for the entire family, good and decent people now thoroughly despised by the public and labeled as child molesters.

Brian and Brandon are played by Ryan Wilson (Cold Creek Manor) and Cody Dorkin at the beginning, then by Dan Byrd and Scott Bailey. Finally Gregory Smith (The Patriot) plays 18-year-old Brian, Scott Bailey again 21-year-old Brandon. The passing of the years makes the audience understand how long this struggle for justice went on and how desperate Scott and Brenda sought freedom to embrace their sons. The young actors portraying the two boys, above all Ryan Wilson and Cody Dorkin, do a great job. Ryan Wilson in particular made it straight into my heart, due to his performance in the court room, but also when he is yearning for his mom. The scene when Scott and Brenda are allowed to see their boys one last time is nothing but tough, because it shows the tragedy of the separation in all its brutality. You see this family, how much they love each other and how strongly they yearn for just being together again, but you know that they will remain torn apart.

Just Ask My Children will affect you, even more so if you consider it being based on a true story. It makes you mad at the relentless prosecutors and shows with smashing credibility how atrociously the system can fail. The emotional scenes are likely to force tears into your eyes, as you automatically associate and identify with Scott and Brenda. The story is really tough, not suited for kids and an emotional roller-coaster that will leave you terrified. This movie deserves a 10, no doubt about that.


15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
2009 Documentary on this topic: Witch Hunt caribearkiss
More Evil Than Adolph Hitler-Ed Jagels crzycajun35
Discuss Just Ask My Children (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?