Avon Eve, a successful writer for films and television, checks into a spa for a week of rest and relaxation. There, she is assigned a masseuse, Sonja, who the director of the spa calls the ... See full summary »
Avon Eve, a successful writer for films and television, checks into a spa for a week of rest and relaxation. There, she is assigned a masseuse, Sonja, who the director of the spa calls the Smiler for her constantly pleasant and smiling disposition. Sonia has heard of Avon and is particularly enchanted by one of her works for television - one that Avon thinks is quite dreadful. As they spend more time together, Sonja begins to remember a failed love affair with Sir Jonathan Sibley who claimed to have loved her but refused to marry. When her old love arrives at the spa with his wife - and fails to even recognize Sonja - she becomes unhinged and plays a terrifying game of Russian roulette. Written by
A videotaped work of less than one hour, this item is from a British television programme entitled "Time For Murder", a studio situation series comprised of six crime related melodramas, of which this is the weakest because of Fay Weldon's screenplay wherein the novelist unsuccessfully attempts to infuse constituents of fantasy and satire in the service of her habitual feminist subject matter. Avon Eve (Janet Suzman), renowned screenwriter working in Hollywood, returns to her native England to restore her energy level at the Bolton Hall Health Hydro, there undergoing a chain of imposed treatments, such as fasting, yoga, and mud packs, receiving as well ministrations of masseuse Sonja (Jane Asher) who is patently unbalanced and who tells the writer a story about her former connection with Bolton Hall. Sonja's account, seen largely in flashback and with frequent employment of voice-over commentary by Avon, relates of her 11 years of painstaking effort while reconstituting the original Bolton to a restored state, a labour of love as Sonja is exceedingly smitten with the owner of the property, Sir Jonathan Sibley, who convinces her to forsake a promising career in ballet before jilting her, and who has returned to the site as a client, along with his wife for whom he threw over the masseuse, now maddened to an apparently homicidal level. The actors perform their largely undemanding roles very capably, Asher an engaging standout as the titular character, playing Sonja during several stages of her life, and there is a pleasingly jaunty score from Paul Lewis, but the real star of the production is makeup artist Glenda Wood whose work here with age related characters is top-flight; 'tis unfortunate that such skills as are in evidence are victimized to the sacrifice of believability and logic, each to a didactic exigency of providing what is an unduly predictable script.
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