Newlywed Laurie Wade finds her marriage, and eventually the rest of her life, shattered by her deep-rooted psychotic behavior. She goes from brief "short-circuits" to overtly murderous ... See full summary »
A wealthy businessman is accused of murdering his wife to collect insurance money to pay gambling debts. Although his three sons initially believe his innocence, his actions and court evidence soon begin to prove otherwise.
David Barry Gray
Based on the true custody battle in Richmond, Virginia, a grandmother sues her lesbian daughter for custody of her grandson on the grounds her daughter is immoral for living with another ... See full summary »
This movie epitomizes two telefilm genres (the Sunday Night Tearjerker and the Lifetime Movie) but towers above most examples of both. It aired as a two-parter; the first half told the story of a woman's murder by her husband and his eventual arrest for the crime, while the second concerned the custody battle over the couple's son between her sister (Bertinelli) and his parents (Huddleston and Fletcher).
The first half retains an admirable level of tension throughout, though the crime isn't ever really a mystery. Thankfully, the actual crime is not shown, though the filmmakers found a better way to convey its brutality: the final shot of the first half of the show is one of the most shocking sights I've ever seen on television.
The custody battle in the second part is less suspenseful but raises several interesting questions. The cultural bias by the killer's parents against the evil, urban, ethnic (Italian) family of the victim had some resonance in their son's marriage. Not to overgeneralize, but a friend of mine was married to a man from rural Indiana and his family was a LOT like the people in this film. The filmmakers clearly sided with wife's family on this point--the "moral" Hoosiers are both unattractive and unpleasant. The question of how their "heartland values" produced their monster of a son is never really addressed.
The performances are uniformly excellent and often surprising. Bertinelli and Chris Meloni as her husband prove to be far more than a couple of (very) pretty faces, as does Michael Ontkean as the cold blooded killer. It is important that this not get lost by being lumped in with the scores of similar but inferior TV movies.
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