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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Mary Tyler Moore was perfect in part

Author: jackcarson
31 December 2003

If anyone had read the book(s) about Sante Kimes and seen photos of how she had looked through the years, they would realize how perfect Mary Tyler Moore is in the part. What is stunning is how similar looking Sante and Mary were in their teens and twenties. True, Sante eventually ending up looking like a frumpy Liz Taylor, but Mary was able to cover that territory well. Her performance captures the general sleaziness of Sante's undertakings.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Creepy, seemingly implausible, but Moore hits the bulls eye

Author: Amy Smith (ivorybigsis@yahoo.com) from United States
30 October 2009

"Like Mother, Like Son" is a study in the degeneration of the potential of a child due to the influence of a narcissistic and soul sick parent. We have to believe that even if the son Kenny had exhibited some personality problems at an early age (I believe that initially he was as normal as any other kid), they need not be cemented into his character as they would eventually be under the misguidance of the psychopathic Sante. Sante is a master at manipulation, which to quote the Bible: "....is as the Sin of Witchcraft",bending husbands too, to her will. You wish that one of her unlucky lovers could have really cared enough about the sons to try to free them from her grasp. The elder son does eventually break free; it comes at a point where he is mature enough to discern that Sante's endless scheming guarantees that a productive life is impossible for anyone connected with her. Mary Tyler Moore has clearly shown us her true range as an actress here because in this film SHE IS Sante Kimes in all her ugly glory. Good acting all around in this disturbing film based on the real like Kimes and her unlucky, lost son.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

truly frightening

Author: blanche-2 from United States
2 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the true story of Sante Kimes and her son, Kenny Kimes, focusing specifically on their murder of wealthy New Yorker Irene Silverman, whose body has never been found.

I have seen other material done on this nut job team, and it is a fascinating study of complete psychopaths. Mary Tyler Moore is a wonderful actress, and she portrays Sante in a very over the top manner - much the way the real Sante probably is, I would imagine, to have charmed people (men especially) and pulled off the scams she did. She is, however, way too old for the part, only because she has to portray Sante as a younger woman. Sante at the time of the Silverman murder was 64; Mary Tyler Moore in this film was 67, so big deal. The problem comes in with the earlier years.

Other than that, I thought the performances were excellent from the three stars.

Though Kimes & son were eventually captured for Silverman's murder, their saga did not end there. Once in prison, Kenny held a Court TV reporter hostage for several hours by holding a ballpoint pen to her throat. He wound up in permanent solitary confinement. Mother and son were extradited to Los Angeles for trial on another, older murder, and both were ultimately convicted.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A portrayal of a nervous, old sociopath-psychopath!

Author: lambiepie-2 from Los Angeles, CA
30 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just caught this made for TV film on Lifetime Movie Network. Mary Tyler Moore gives one of the most over the top performances of.....an over the top woman. For this script and portrayal, she was perfect.

The story is about an old, aging woman who thought she was a 'diva', but a bad grifter who wanted money and her way and would do anything to get it, and used anyone to get it - even murder.

This part of the story of Sante Kimes focuses on the disappearance of a wealthy New York socialite woman Irene Silverman, also played well by Jean Stapleton. According to this teleplay and the facts, Kenny - the son and Sante set up an elaborate scheme to take the 7 million dollar property from Ms. Silverman. Sante was preparing to assume the identity of Ms. Silverman and sell the property and keep the money. They were caught, but Ms. Silverman's body is still not found.

This teleplay focused primarily on the sociopath and psychotic nature of Sante and her interaction with her sons - Kenny and Kent. Kent left her grips early enough to have a somewhat normal existence, but Kenny was pulled in hook line and sinker to his mother's criminalistic demands. What you see in this portrayal of the story is Sante's manipulation to get whatever she wanted - and she got a rush from all of it. Even down to sexually seducing her own son for her personal gain, grifting and murder. You also see early on that Sante needed a man, some kind of man in her life to use as her foundation for whatever she did. While the performance may seem over the top, the real facts are about as unbelievable as the performances which is why this works for me.

Sante Kimes is an over the top and unstable human being. She thought she was "Miss It" ... as old as she was and tended to portray herself as much younger than she was (could have been due to her trying to keep up the sexual seduction with her son!) - and Mary Tyler Moore played her right on spot. Later, you'll find that Sante and Kenny Kimes have done more gifting and murder across the United States than of this Irene Silverman episode and that is what makes the thought of them more chilling than portrayed.

This is an over the top TV performance of an over the top criminal and her son. Not bad for a TV teleplay that went over the top to present an unbelievably true tale.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This is a true story.... Sante and Kenny Kimes....

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
10 August 2007

And Mary Tyler Moore as the sociopath Sante Kimes. Her history is very interesting, and frightening at the same time. Moore gives an excellent performance here, she is not over the top and quite believable as Sante.

Robert Foster delivers a good performance as Ken 'Pappa' Kimes- Sante married this man for his money, enjoyed the high life in Los Angeles, Nevada, the Bahamas and Hawaii. Apparently Sante was capable of anything. She got her husband into a political affair for Jimmy Carter's election (similar in personality to John Wayne Gacy, who worked volunteered for Rosalynn Carter, and Ted Bundy, who volunteered for the Republican Governor in the state of Washington).

Basically Sante flips when her husband does not leave her any money in his will- he leaves it to his children. This kicks in her major criminal behavior, which leads her and her son (who is her devoted slave) to New York City. She manages to get her attractive son to rent an upscale apartment owned by wealthy NYC socialite Irene Silverman, (well- portrayed by Jean Stapleton). The scenes with Stapleton and her boxer, Sophie, are truly upsetting. Silverman was murdered on 4th of July weekend, when her house-man and maid were off for vacation. I believe there was also a scene where they drove from NYC to Manalapan, Florida (The wealthiest city, near Palm Beach ).

In court, Sante stands up and screams to the judge ..."there is no body...so there is no case...I am innocent".... A truly frightening movie, as it is all true. Sante and Kenny were sentenced to 220 years in prison, and presently the state of California is attempting to extradite them for their crimes in California. Highly recommended.9/10

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Fun to have these pros together

Author: dvlaries from King George, VA, USA
24 June 2002

Sure, the subject matter is grisly. You can still enjoy the movie for an entirely different reason. The movie (originally in the US), played on CBS, and united it's 70s sitcom queens for the first time. Virtually every year throughout the 70s, Moore and Stapleton were against each other (often one beating the other) for the Best Lead Actress in a comedy series Emmy award. So there's some campy wicked fun in the idea of Moore doing away with Stapleton once and for all!

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

It could have been better!

Author: (sylviastel@aol.com) from United States
31 July 2001

The story is so bizarre but it is all true. Mary Tyler Moore deserves an Emmy nomination for her performance as the criminal mastermind, Sante Kimes. She really makes you forget her days on the Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke shows altogether playing this incestuous control freak. She was true to her character as awful as she was. The real story behind it is such a tragedy. Poor Irene Silverman and other victims who was so suspicious and caught on to their act only to get murdered and discarded like garbage. It is such a shame that they never found her body and probably never will at this point. But what gall is that they filmed this in Australia. Come on, US can't be that expensive. The film is awful but true to the story. I have read several books on the case so you can't say it wasn't made up when it indeed happened.

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8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Mary Tyler Moore hams it up in this campy telemovie!

Author: Aussie Stud from Providence, Rhode Island
19 June 2001

This telemovie sprang up out of nowhere. I remember seeing a print ad for it in the TV guide one week before it premiered on television and I saw a picture of Mary Tyler Moore all dolled up like a two dollar hooker. This was something I had to see.

I admit that I had never heard or read anything about the case of Sante and Kenny Kimes and had this not been sold on the premise that it was based on a true story, I would never have believed it either. Mary Tyler Moore and Gabriel Olds portray the mother and son duo who murder a wealthy New York socialite for her money.

The story starts out in the 60's and we see Mary Tyler Moore as Sante Kimes. Hidden behind a huge brown curly wig, make-up that looked like it had been applied with a butter knife and ridiculously over-sized sunglasses, she makes her move on a wealthy building contractor, Ken Kimes, played by Robert Forster. With her two young sons in tow, it doesn't take long for her to win the affections of Ken and move into his mansion. The most bizarre thing about this part of the story is trying to make Mary Tyler Moore look like she's in her 40's when she obviously looks like she's past the age of 60. This problem conflicts with the present when she unfortunately looks just the same.

Nonetheless, Sante Kimes is a born criminal. Her mother was a prostitute and she was brought up basically on the streets where she had to learn how to shoplift and hustle. Even though she has all the money she could ever want as a result of her marriage to Ken Kimes, she still has the instinct to continue conning people and run credit card scams. Through all of this, we see her two sons grow up. The oldest son, Kent, realises during his teenage years that something is terribly wrong with his mother. His mother actually encourages him to steal and trick people. He is caught stealing a neighbour's surfboard and his mother actually tells him that the only thing he did wrong was getting caught.

When Kent has finished high school, he decides he has had enough of his mother's crooked lifestyle. He moves out to join the army, leaving his vulnerable younger brother, Kenny, in the wake of his mother's self-destruction. Their father is oblivious to Sante's problems. He believes it is just something that she uses in self-defence to her past lifestyle of hardship from being raised on the streets. What he doesn't know is that Sante is well aware of what is right and what is wrong and she prefers to live the lifestyle of doing 'wrong'.

We get to witness Sante Kimes using Kenny as a pawn in her game of shoplifting. She uses him to distract the cashier while she sneaks a dress into her handbag. At such a young stage of his life, Kenny doesn't realise that there is something wrong with this picture. It is during his birthday party that his mother is arrested for credit card fraud and sentenced to time in jail.

Several years later, Sante is released into the care of Ken. Unfortunately, she has no plans of changing her previous ways and this conflicts with Kenny who is now a young man starting college. It is also about this same time period that Ken passes away from a heart attack while Sante makes a trip to the bank. Defenseless again, Sante convinces Kenny to join her in making one last con. They are to move to New York and befriend a wealthy socialite, Irene Silverman, played by Jean Stapleton who gives a her best in a restrained performance.

The only problem with this part of the storyline is that we, the viewer, have no idea as to how Sante devised this plan or as to how she had even heard of Irene Silverman in the first place.

Kenny Kimes rents out an apartment from Irene Silverman. The plan is to let Irene get comfortable with Kenny living in her premises and then wait till she is alone to strike while the iron is hot. From the start, Irene suspects something is amiss. Kenny can't provide his social security number upon renting out the apartment. He pretends he left his wallet elsewhere and that he will give her the details later. He has given her information that he is a young businessman with a personal secretary, played by his own mother, Sante Kimes. With that premise alone, the two spend most of their time in Kenny's apartment devising their masterplan and biding time while Irene grows more and more suspicious.

From hereon in, the telemovie attempts to take the 'Hitchcockian' approach. Irene suspects, perhaps even knows, that she cannot trust Kenny and Sante. She sees shadows under his apartment door when she walks down her hallway. Her passport goes missing from her office. Her dog wakes her up in the middle of the night because he senses that something is not right. When Irene contacts the list of references left by Kenny during his apartment interview, she discovers that no one has even heard of him. It's at this point when she orders Kenny to vacate the premises. Jean Stapleton really tries her best to portray the growing terror that will result in the utmost horrific climax, but she doesn't quite reach that pinnacle.

The most horrific thing at this point is watching Mary Tyler Moore wearing different wigs, more and more make-up and ridiculously tight and outdated clothing that makes her stand out more than anything, if at all, trying to be inconspicuous. Gabriel Olds doesn't inject much sympathy into his character, portraying Sante Kimes' son. We see him at times second-guessing his motives and perhaps questioning his integrity to carry out this masterplan concocted by his mother - but his rather bland portrayal of this character only leaves questions as to whether he is stupid for doing what his mother asked him to, or stupid for thinking that they can actually succeed in making this plan work and on top of that, getting away with it.

Before the climax of this telemovie, Sante Kimes poses as Irene Silverman, bedsheets pulled up to her face in the darkness as she pretends she is bedridden with sickness. A notary sits in the other room, processing Wills and Power of Attorneys in the name of Irene Silverman, thinking that the woman in the bed is actually her. If this was really true, would a notary really accept a signature given by someone who won't show their face or get out of bed? Why not just do it over the phone?

With all their chess pieces in place, Sante and Kenny Kimes make their moves on Irene Silverman. All the tenants in the apartment building have left for the Independence Day weekend. Irene has sent her personal servant on vacation leave and has just turned down her best friend's offer to stay the long weekend at her apartment. We, as the viewer, never get to witness Irene's demise. We see Mary Tyler Moore looking truly evil in her huge wig and Tammy-Faye-Bakker makeup, skulking around the darkened apartment coaxing Irene Silverman to come out from hiding so they can finish her off. Kenny is attacked by Irene's dog as they close in on the pantry, and the next scene shows Sante and Kenny lifting a body bag into the back of their trunk which they then drive off to dispose of it.

The telemovie is very scratchy as it concludes here. Several days after the murder/disappearance of Irene Silverman, Sante and Kenny are arrested in a FBI sting involving an old contact of theirs that they used to murder someone earlier in their past. Someone bright in the FBI department makes the connection that these two criminals must have something to do with Irene Silverman's disappearance and the two deviats are tried and convicted of her murder, even though her body has not been found. The two are sentenced to over 100 years in prison and will most likely never see the outside world again.

The only really humane scene is shown at the conclusion of this telemovie, when Sante Kimes in prison tries to contact her oldest and estranged son, Kent, who is now a vacuum cleaner salesman. She woefully explains on his answering machine that she has been incarcerated along with Kenny on the charge of manslaughter. Kent, standing by the telephone and shaking his head in pity and disgust, decides not to answer.

Mary Tyler Moore was not the right choice to portray Sante Kimes. In some scenes, she is truly evil, in other scenes, it is more humorous than anything to see her carousing around in outfits 20 years too young for her and trying to pass herself off as a 'older' sex icon. We, as the viewer, never really get to understand her motives or reasons as to why she is the way she is and why she used Kenny to assist in the murder of Irene Silverman.

Her outfits and makeup definitely get a 10 for camp comedy, but Mary Tyler Moore gets a 5 for trying to portray this role with any true conviction.

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