Just Ask My Children (TV Movie 2001) Poster

(2001 TV Movie)

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10/10
A 10 is too low a rating for this movie
Andreas_N11 January 2006
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.
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9/10
How Lies Can Destroy a Family
domino100310 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Just Ask My Children" is a perfect example at how made for television movies can still pull at the heartstrings and make you cry in buckets. And the fact that this is based on a true story makes it a bit harder to watch.

Brenda and Scott Kniffen (Virginia Madsen and Jeffrey Nordling) are the perfect family, with 2 sons who love them dearly. However, the family is soon torn apart by a lie that will send Brenda and Scott to prison, and the 12 years that it took for the truth to set them free.

Brenda and Scott help out some friends during a custody trial. Unfortunately the vindictive relative decides to get even by accusing them and the Kniffens of sexually abusing their children. The police, in "witch hunt" mode, coax the kids into giving false testimony against their parents and the Kniffen's lives go into a spiral. Accused of molesting their children, a jury finds them guilty and sentences them to over 200 years in prison, the children taken away and put into a series of foster homes. With the help of a private detective, the truth finally comes to light, but the damage is done: The Kniffens had lost 12 years of their lives, and the boys are overwhelmed with the guilt of what had happened.

In today's society, in which it becomes more and more apparent that the judicial system is heavily flawed, this film is a prime example of how a single lie can destroy not just one person, but the whole family in the process (Scotty's parents died fighting for their son's freedom).

All of the performances are incredible and heartbreaking to watch, so have the tissue handy.
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10/10
saw the movie today
terrichef17 July 2005
Just saw this movie on T.V. for the first time today. I can personally tell you that this 90 minutes barely scratches the surface of the stories of ALL of the families involved. Someone should do a followup story on the children involved and how they were mentally affected by what they were exposed to during those years. My family in California did not contact us to let us know this movie was out . . . . but we don't talk much about it anymore - too painful.

One key subject here is something most people don't realize. Your children ARE NOT required to have an attorney present when they are questioned by the police. Therefore, a child can be denied sleep and food. Questioning techniques that are used by the military were used on these children. Some of them were also told that if they would just admit to the charges that they could go home to their parents. I know - if I were not related to two of the children involved - I wouldn't believe this happened in the United States in this century.
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9/10
A frightening, but thought-provoking film
dmdehill7 January 2005
See also comments on "Snap Decision." "Just Ask My Children" was scheduled the following night at 2.30 am, which says a lot for our network! This should be prime time viewing to arouse public debate. I was horrified, outraged and sick to my stomach. The dramatisation no doubt contributed to that, but the basis of truth and the span of years to achieve any form of resolution was truly frightening. The comparisons with the witch hunts of past centuries is really scary for those of us far away from the States and watching the political developments which have been reinforced by recent election results. The seemingly uncontrolled abuse of power by police and "Child Welfare" authorities, supported by politically elected judges with local small town agendas (which is so alien to us) reflects to some of us a deep and frightening potential for hysteria supported by conservatism and possibly religious fervour, replacing the power of reason. All decent parents have a horror of paedophilia, but the impact of zealots who have set out to protect society from itself at the expense of reason can be just as damaging to us all. May all you good and decent Americans not be afraid to walk the middle road - clearly the makers of this film share the outrage and have the courage. How can we ensure no recurrence? See this film, you will be moved by it.
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10/10
This movie is a "must see" for anyone who has a child or children and/or works with children and/or families, etc.
Assertivewoman11 May 2006
I agree that 10 is not a high enough number to rate this movie. This movie was well written, produced, and all the actors and actresses did a wonderful job. I am a fan of Virginia Madsen. The sad part is that what happened to this family happens all the time to other families and you do not hear or read about it. As I children's rights advocate, I have seen what happened to this family happen time and again. While you are watching this movie or even after you have seen it you will ask yourself, "How can this happen in the US?" Of course, I have other personal opinions that I cannot post here. This movie is a "must see" for anyone who has a child or children and/or works with children and/or families, etc. I would highly recommend this movie to be shown in college Psychology classes, law schools, especially when you are studying Family Law/Domestc Law, Criminal Law, and for medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, etc.
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10/10
What a great and eye-opening movie.
pruemarch11 November 2005
This movie really made me think about injustice and the parents love for their children. One day i hope to have children myself and i hope that the children i have will stand up for me and i never have to go through what the family involved in this spectacular piece of cinema went through.

The acting and script was very convincing- i felt like i was watching the actual event first-hand, not a re-construction of events by trained actors. The courage of the family will be in my mind forever, it WAS awesome!!! probably the best true-life film i have ever set eyes on. Congratulations to the director for creating this masterpiece, it was a real credit to it's genre.
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Good Story but tragic
cathleen198020029 September 2004
I can not believe that this could happen to anyone. I feel very sorry for the family's that had to endure this. To spend 14 years in jail because some whino woman wanted custody of SOMEONE elses kids is not right.

Whatever happened to this Mary person that did this to these poor people.

She ruined a family life , took good parents away from their children and ruined these kids lives. Made these poor kids die inside and not feel any remorse.

I wish there was something I could do for this family that had to go through all of this and I hope that the people who decided to ignore the facts and prosecute because of allegations was purely wrong and i hope they rot for what they did.
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One Of The Best Liferime Original Movies !!!
cooltmd2 December 2002
"Just Ask My Children" is based on the true story of a modern-day witch-hunt in which a couple is falsely accused and jailed for molesting their own children.

When Brenda (Virginia Madsen) and Scott Kniffen (Jeffrey Nordling) are asked to testify at a custody hearing on behalf of their friends, they and their two sons, Brandon and Brian, are sucked into a nightmare. Their friends' hysterical relative has accused both sets of parents of molestation and peddling child pornography - and the local D.A.'s office is intent on appearing tough on child abusers. They badger Brian and Brandon into testifying against their mom and dad, with tragic results. For 12 horrible years, Brenda and Scott languish behind bars, separated from the sons they love and fighting to prove their own innocence.
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9/10
This is one of the saddest movies ever
Marckre5 November 2001
This is the kind of movie that will put you in a position where you are mad and heart broken at the same time.The real bad part about the movie is it's a true story and and that all of that really did happen!! When watching this movie, keep kleenex nearby.
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9/10
Watch it open mouthed
neil-47617 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This TV movie tells the story of a family torn apart by allegations of child abuse. The two children, seized from their parents and put into foster care, are effectively brainwashed by prosecutors, as a result of which their innocent parents receive horrendous prison sentences which they then spend years fighting to overturn.

The story is the thing here. Based on true events, one accepts that it is of necessity abridged, adjusted, amended and otherwise altered for dramatic purposes, but if even the bare bones of the story is true (as, from a little research it appears it is) then the miscarriage of justice here is stunning, and certainly sufficient to carry a feature movie.

Next to the events portrayed, the performances are almost secondary. Yet they are exemplary, with Virginia Madsen, in particularly, playing deliberately and convincingly contrary to her established sultry screen persona.
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10/10
very emotianal and heart breaking movie
thehulseybunch8 September 2003
As I watched this families nightmare unfold it broke my heart. I am the mother of 3 young sons and just seeing what this family went through was awfull....I cried through the whole movie. I cannot imagine being separated from my babies for 12 long painful agonizing years. That was nothing more than a modern day witch hunt and it's so sad to know other innocent parents are still in prison for this also. May God bless this family as they heal from all the lost years. It is such a scary thought knowing that such an injustice can happen. I wish the boys grand parents could have seen the day justice was FINALY served. I am sure they were smiling down on them from Heaven.
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10/10
This is not a conservative/liberal issue
Keylimepie31 March 2006
One reviewer here had the gall (not to mention the ignorance) to confuse this hysteria with conservative politics. For one thing, the whole fear of pedophilia has been drilled into the minds of ordinary people by the hysteria-provoking media. It is also driven by the politics of the left as well as the right. The left's guilt in this is the constant drumbeat about "the children." According to the left, "the children" are always in peril. The right is complicit in being stone-faced and relentless in the pursuit of imaginary miscreants who have done nothing wrong. They are too willing to believe the worst. But the left set the stage with one simple idea: 'children don't lie.' This one concept drove the legal issue in most of these cases which took place in the '80's.

The idea of total innocence in children is not a conservative idea at all. Quite the opposite. Conservatives believe that right and wrong have to be explained, and doing right is a process of learning. It is not innate. This is the bedrock of conservative philosophy. But in the case of the McMartins and the Amiraults and many other cases, the children were deliberately manipulated by people - "facilitators" - whose agenda had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with power and the limelight.

This film is one of the best ever made about this sad chapter. A power-hungry DA more than willing to prosecute, and women, for the most part, more than willing to harass and intimidate children into saying things that they knew were wrong. Many of these women had absolutely no formal training and had no degrees in child psychology. Yet they were entrusted with the job of indoctrination on the lowest most vile level. This film enraged me all over again at the towering injustice done this and many other families. What the prosecution did was the real child abuse here.
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10/10
Virginia Madsen at her best,, too bad there is no happy ending !!!
pizzawarrior1956-11 April 2006
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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10/10
Have a box of tissues handy! This is a real tear jerker.
mlangford18 September 2001
You'd better have a box of tissues handy, because this movie is a real tear jerker! The scary part is that this could (and did) actually happen. Let's hope that our justice system learned some important lessons from the heartaches of these folks.
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10/10
Child "Protective" Services
TIDDYBEAR17 July 2005
This movie was so "real life" that it MUST have been based on a true story. America needs to wake up to the Child "Protection" industry. And it IS and industry. CPS is a money mill. They get paid federal funds for removing a child from their home and placing them in foster care. The get paid even MORE funds of those children are adopted. The people of America mistakenly believe "I don't have anything to fear from CPS. I don't abuse my children". WRONG! CPS could receive a report from an angry neighbor or co worker. They don't care whether the report is accurate or not. They act on it as fact. Remove the kids and ask questions later. MAYBE. They may not ask any questions. And the juvenile courts just rubber stamp whatever CPS says. There are tons of social workers, psychologists, and law enforcement that actually encourage charges of child abuse. Their lively hoods depend on it! I have a sign in the back window of my car that says "Help stop the REAL terrorism in America. Child Protective Services. Wake UP America!!!

Jan James Chattanooga, TN
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10/10
extremely sad and disturbing....
eschultz-516 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this on Lifetime network last night and it is really haunting me. I remember reading about some of these day care sex ring "cases" in the 1980's and even then they just seemed too implausible and bizarre to be believed. It is just shocking how out of control the Kniffen's situation got, completely fueled by the Kern County justice system and their own political agendas. The unfairness of it is outrageous. So much was stolen from that family, how could they ever get it back? I pray that they have healed some and my heart goes out to them. The parent's suffering was in nightmarish proportions and the boys - well, what they were put through, it is ironic that who they were really victimized by were the very people and organizations that were supposedly trying to "help" them! They ruined their lives over false charges; it is just despicable. I just find it impossible to believe that they (Kern County)believed what they were prosecuting and they just considered the children 'disposable' to meet their own ends. What a black mark for justice and what a shame that this family suffered so needlessly. A side note - Brenda Kniffen is a true witness for faith in that she never gave up and her's and Scott's is a true love story and they and the boys have an incredible strong family bond to have survived all this intact. They are truly inspiring!
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10/10
I cried a lot
dina117118 August 2006
As a mum of two lovely children, I watched this film wondering how politics could be stronger than family love and unity. In the end, love won, but at what cost..... all the years without celebrating birthdays, Christmas, a new year at school, a new girlfriend, etc... so many things happening in one's life. I don't think I ever cried so much whilst watching a film, so I dare to imagine how much these parents and children cried every day of their lives, since when everything happened and forever more because you simply cannot replace or re-create 12 years of any human being's life. If the real Kniffen's ever see this message, please note, I have the utmost respect for you and have no idea where you found the strengh to carry on. I hope you have found peace and happiness and wish you all the best. you must be such strong human beings...From a mum that loves her children....they must have been the force that kept you going. Have s happy life, wherever you are.
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9/10
Very disturbing, but important story
arrowdawg25 July 2005
Unlike the person who wrote the only other review for this movie, I won't exploit this opportunity to express my anti-Republican/Conservative/religious views. Of course, that unfortunately is typical with some liberals. Some of them are always trying to shove their views down your throat, even when the subject has no connection to their politics. It makes me sad, because I'm a liberal, and I respect other people's rights to have their own beliefs. I actually follow the true meaning of the word "liberal." I'm open-minded, not close-minded like the man who wrote the other review.

In any event, this movie was very disturbing, yet important in it's message. It goes to show that, even in a "free" country, your freedom and rights can be abused and taken away in an instant. It really opens up your eyes, and hopefully makes those who watch it aware that small town "justice" can endanger anyone's life at a moment's notice. I can only hope that the kind of coercion that these little boys suffered is not happening over and over again in other places around the country. Like they said in the movie, those boys were abused, but not by their parents. They were abused by a judicial system that is corrupt and outdated, a system that allows criminal minds to go free all the time, and puts away innocent people for political gain. God help us.
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10/10
Great Television Drama
Pyreneenguy18 May 2006
Caught this excellent TV movie this afternoon on french TV. As usual , the programme-guides sum-up the movie in one sentence; thousands of people must miss out on good quality television drama because of this.

There is little point in me exploring the plot as there are already sufficient comments on here. I would simply like to say that the movie filled me with emotion , the tears flowing freely at the end when the whole family is reunited.

It is hard to believe that such events can take place, in what some consider to be the World's greatest democracy. I often feel that the U.S.A represents the worst example of inegality.
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10/10
Out of everyone in my house they were all moved by this movie
kay212_6930 July 2005
I found this movie very moving. It touched me in my heart , i felt so bad for the family's. It was wrong for those people to make those little boys to say something they did not mean. Just because someone said they were molested doesn't mean it happened. You have to realize how far our technology has came since then we have improved a lot. But i just wish i could go back in time and help those family's. i Just wish that people wouldn't believe everything they heard.What ever happened to innocent till proved guilty? Anyways i enjoyed that movie very much and i think everyone could learn something from that movie. I think that everyone should see this movie. To help understand what has gone on in the world and how people shouldn't just be branded for something that someone said they did.
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This story had a happy ending
colavina26 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In this particular case, the brothers had each other, and (off and on) their supportive grand parents as reality checks, and even then, one of the boys is convinced for a long time that the abuse really happened.

In the McMartin branch of the witchhunt-- to this day-- some of the "victims" still believe that there were secret tunnels under the pre-school, that they were spirited away by private jet to Saudi Arabia for sex (with turn-around times of less than 8 hours) etc.

If parents or care takers are constantly reinforcing the "memory" of abuse, and there is no one around to bring those memories into doubt, many such children grow up to believe whole-heartedly in the reality of their abuse. In those cases, rectifying the many injustices done is nearly hopeless, as the State will only very reluctantly reverse convictions, and will destroy or lose the original interview tapes, etc.

Some posters here contend that one crazy old lady is at fault, but really we are all at fault-- for electing the officials, for buying newspaper that hyped the scandals instead of those few that were questioning them, for taking a wicked, perverted pleasure in being outraged spectators to the whole process that was going on at that time, and still goes on today.
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8/10
Great and disturbing film
Joxerlives20 June 2016
Odd now in these days of such professional police investigation to see the portrayal of the dark days of the 80s when the art was just in its' infancy. The story really falls down on whether we believe the children and can they lie about this? If the kids are telling the truth then the parents deserve everything they get but if they are lying...?

In one scene the mother (the ever gorgeous Virginia Madsen) asks can the police just come into your home and take your kids away? And the answer of course is that if they have reason to believe you're abusing them then of course they can. But this was at a time when it was considered that children couldn't lie about such things and people didn't realise how they could be easily lead and influenced during interviews. It's also a good example of the importance of independence in the judicial system, the prosecutors desperate to please public opinion by getting convictions and then reconsidering when public opinion shifts in the opposite direction. Perhaps the scariest thing is when the prosecutor receives the court order to give the defence access to the boys and he just chooses to ignore it? Surely the judge should order HIM to be arrested for that?

Another film I'd recommend in the same vein is Indictment which is excellent.
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Out of the Mouths of Babes
rmax3048235 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
It's not surprising that the events described in this film took place when they did, along with many similar cases, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And it isn't coincidental that the Soviet Union collapsed at about the same time.

"Just Ask My Children" presents a case of alleged child molestation in which the parents were convicted and received sentences of 240 years each. During the same years there were untold numbers of accusations of child molestation and other evildoings. Satanic worship, child pornography rings, incest, recovered memories of ghastly events. It was a social movement that swept the entire country and caused enormous suffering.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 deprived us of our chief enemy and, not being able to identify other outsiders as enemies that all of us could agree were important and truly evil, we invented a conspiratorial undercurrent in our own society. We are good people, you see, but in order for us to hang together as good guys, we need some other group that all of us, regardless of race, color, creed, or political persuasion, can agree on as providing a bad example for the rest of us. Goodness implies its opposite. Every social bond implies an opposite bond, just as heads implies tails.

We are intimately involved with evil because we need it; we need a group we can point to and say emphatically, "WE are not THEM." Without that enemy, we simply can't be certain that we are as good as we claim. Let me put it this way. If a fish lives in a river and never leaves it, then how does the fish know it is living in a river? We can see the frenzied search for a post-soviet enemy in movies, especially action movies. The villains morph from one form to another with astonishing regularity and obscurity. We have had Turks, Arabs, cocaine kingpins, unnamed terrorist groups, lone maniacs, and then child abusers.

In the real world, preschools were closed, individuals disgraced, and some alleged molesters even confessed, although they also confessed that, though they must have done it, they couldn't remember the acts. Kids were brought under the law and after tutelage by experts cheerfully piped up with stories of the most heinous behavior on the part of their parents. Newborns were slaughtered on altars (sometimes on space ships) or fed to sharks that lived in lakes. This sounds crazy and it is. Something was going on that led us not only to the case described in this film, but, alas, much farther, deep into the heart of human nature.

Vast social forces were at work that reflect on us in a most unflattering way. There were psychological forces at work too, of course. There is something in many of us that enjoys seeing others degraded, humiliated, and in pain, the part of us that prompts us to buy supermarket tabloids featuring pictures of celebrities now grown old and fat.

Unfortunately Just Ask My Children concentrates on the agony of one family swept up in this hysteria and so, as education, is rather weak. The family in this film suffers, of course, but we already know that. Their anguish can be taken for granted. But one gossipy and malignant neighbor, twelve eager-to-believe jurors, and a judge up for reelection cannot in any way explain why thousands of similar cases erupted in this country during the same few years. That's a different question, and one most of us are reluctant to address because, as Pogo put it, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

The collective hysteria probably came to an end for two main reasons. One is that the accusations finally became too disruptive. This is what happened during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s. It was one thing for a handful of babbling girls to throw fits on the courtroom floor and accuse some old maids of witchcraft (more than 20 were executed). But it was quite another thing when they got around to accusing the religious leaders of the community. Our kids and our "experts" on molestation and satanic worship reached the same point.

A second reason why the accusations abated was that there was simply no physical evidence to support them. No stolen newborns, no disappearing pregnancies, no burned or buried carcasses, no worms in the MacDonald's hamburgers. How can you "prove" a child was raped?

With any luck, the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks will be destroyed. With further luck, we may never find out about it. We can then use them for another decade because, if we assume we are the "heads" of the coin and represent rectitude, they can provide the "tails" and represent evil in our national mythology.
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10/10
Rating system misleading
mgrogie-414-14030620 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I am just finishing viewing this film on Lifetime as I write this. The program listing did not specify whether it was a true story so I looked up both Wikipedia and IMDb to see if it was and, if so, what the real facts of the case were since the film was so dramatically incendiary that I could not believe that the facts had not been manipulated. I could not believe something this horrible could happen in modern America. Imagine my surprise to discover that it was not only a true story but that the facts were very much presented as they happened, documented by individuals who had actual knowledge of the real case.

That makes this a very important film and I'm surprised it was made 13 years ago and I never knew about it. But I was shocked to see that you list the average rating as only a 6.9? But I read one review after another and they are all 9 or 10 star reviews. So I keep reading to find the ones that knocked it down. There were none, only a few that had not bothered to give any rating at all even though the text of the review was glowing. There are some 23 reviews posted for this film, all of which sing its praises, all but a few giving it 9 or 10 stars, the few giving no rating at all. No rating does not mean zero stars, but evidently IMDb counted it as zero and averaged this all together to produce the low total. IMDb needs to revise this rating system to make it accurate. This film needs to be revised to a 9.5 rating, which is what it is.

So happy to know though that the story had a happy ending and that the accused parents were exonerated and freed and the family reunited, even if it did take more than ten years and deprive the two boys of their childhood and the parents of the joys of raising their boys. I have always been a huge fan of Virginia Madsen. Ever since I first saw her in her teen movies, I thought she was destined for super-stardom and always wondered why it never happened for her. Then "Sideways" happened and she's been doing great ever since. So happy for her.
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10/10
What A Wonderful And Emotional Movie
janetdfamily22 September 2001
I Was So Angry And Devastated On This Movie And The Way They Live For 12 Years Without Their Parent's On Christmas Birthday's And More. They Jailed 2 Innocent People In Jail For The Molestation Case. The 2 Boys Were Innocent. So I Hope Their Lives Were Good After This. Keep Your Head Of Kniffin Family.
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