When her husband becomes ill with heart problems, Joanne Tilford reluctantly returns to her family after a six-year stay in a mental institution. Her children are strangers to her and the ... See full summary »
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Lindsay Wagner is Bonnie Wilkerson, the mother of an adopted girl Tracy, whose birth mother sues for custody.
Wagner's hair is frosted grey, and she wears an angry expression before she and her husband Craig (Chris Sarandon) are given Tracy. Unfortunately both Sarandon and Nancy McKeon as the birthmother Kimberly Downs have a more direct acting style than Wagner, who suffers in comparison, noticably in her custody hearing monologue about `family'. The Wilkerson defence lawyer Abe Rosenberg (Michael Lerner) actually chooses to use Bonnie in preference to Craig, because Craig's anger at the situation is deemed inappropriate and counter-productive. At first Sarandon seems too light, even too clownish for the drama that is to come, but then he has a breakdown in a car which is very moving, though his sudden moustache growth is left unexplained.
The teleplay by Charles Rosin, based on a documentary by Beth Polson, pits `blood' against a more affluent lifestyle, but the end is simply and masterfully conceived and executed by director David Greene. Rosin has a scene where we see Craig rehearsing and failing on camera for the trial, a female attorney cross-examining Kimberly who is just as vicious as a man, and in a genre-referential nod, Bonnie says `I just keep hoping it's gonna end like one of those movies on the late show where the governor calls at the last minute with a reprieve'. Greene also cuts from Kimberely post-birth looking miserable to Bonnie looking happy in anticipation of the arrival of Tracy, who becomes a silent thick-haired child presented in home movies at the end, her future a mystery.
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