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Just Ask My Children (2001)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  10 September 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 526 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 »



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Title: Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001)

Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001) on IMDb 7.2/10

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


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

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Plot Keywords:

child abuse | custody | abuse | jail | boy | See more »







Release Date:

10 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Best Intentions  »

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Did You Know?


Brenda Kniffen: There is no force or pressure or bribe or price that would ever make me say I did that to my children. I would rather die here alone than ever have them think I did such a thing.
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User Reviews

Virginia Madsen at her best,, too bad there is no happy ending !!!
1 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To those who may have run across some of my postings here, I have made no secret of my deep appreciation for the talents of actress Virginia Madsen, and that until her Oscar-nominated performance in the movie "Sideways", few people other than me seemed to take much notice.

Now, with Virginia's career back on track, there is going to be increased attention paid to her past accomplishments, in what I hope will be a vindication of faith for those who knew all along !!! Regarding this film, while not perfect; Virginia Madsen gives a sincere and powerful performance as Brenda Kniffin, an average homemaker who finds herself in a fiendish hell that rivals Kafka's "The Trial" in its sadism and insanity.

The tragedy is that this story is all too true.

When Brenda and her husband appear as character witnesses for a couple wanting to adopt two little children, they are caught up in a web of accusations involving child abuse against their own children; and a vindictive criminal justice system out for blood, in an atmosphere of media hype over similar cases (the McMartin case is a prime example), and literally end up losing everything they have; their children, their family and their freedom.

Too bad that this movie is not given more of a Hollywood treatment, and perhaps we would have a more satisfying resolution to this story, for if any story calls for justice and complete vindication, as well as restoration of everything they once had, this one does !!!

The hard part about this movie is that the viewers know going in that the couple is innocent; and they suffer along with them.

Indignity follows indignity as the drama unfolds.

After the initial accusation, the children are taken away; and the house is thoroughly trashed in search for evidence.

Brenda is seen beaten by her cell mates, while her boys are coached by authorities into admitting to things that never happened to them, with the promise that they would go home to their folks.

And then there's the conviction and prison to look forward to.

No matter what the state of California does to right the terrible wrongs that they have done, what amount of money or compensation can be enough to make up for 14 years of hell !!! For the denial of a mother the love of her children !!!! For the theft of their freedom and their children's childhood !!! And most important, how can we forgive ourselves ????

You would think in an enlightened society such as ours, we would avoid an event like the "Salem Witch Trials", but we are soberly reminded that not only do these things still happen, they can happen at any time to any of us.

While the highly-adult subject matter prevents this movie having the vast exposure it deserves, it is showing up more frequently on cable, specifically on the Lifetime Movie channel; so a sterling performance by Virginia Madsen can be finally be apreciated, now that her career is finally taking off.

That has been the story of Virginia's career, in that her best work seems to be lost in a succession of B-movies, DTV and small Indies movies that no one will ever see.

But hopefully, Virginia Madsen will be able to have the opportunity now to share her talents with a growing number of appreciative fans in future roles, ("Firewall", "A Prairie Home Companion", "The Number 23", TV's "Smith"); and rediscover what led up to her return.

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