ANOTHER WOMAN'S CHILD
US, 1983, 95 minutes, Colour.
Linda Lavin, Tony Lo Bianco, Joyce Van Patten, Doris Roberts, Ron Rifkin.
Directed by John Erman.
Another Woman's Child is a telemovie that explores a situation in families: marriage, childlessness, a past infidelity, responsibility for a child and taking the child into the home. The film explores its themes quite well especially for the wide television audience. Linda Lavin was executive producer and is the star of the film. She is happily married to Tony Lo Bianco, has accepted that she is unable to have children, has a comfortable life, strong friends, especially a psychologist who has helped her through, she also makes jewellery and has a small business. Suddenly, she discovers that twelve years earlier her husband had been unfaithful for a short moment and that there is a child. She has to face the decision of reconciliation with her husband and trusting him again, the fact that she could adopt the child, how she will relate to the child. The stars are quite effective and believable in their roles.
The girl is also believable, trying to cope with her Mother's death and this new situation. Joyce Van Patten is the psychologist - and has the opportunity to voice many psychological issues (which may be of interest to audiences trying to understand the psychology of the situation).
1. Interesting telemovie? exploring a real theme? For the widest possible television audience?
2. The world of Terri and Michael, affluent Californian world? The world of business? Of psychology? Audiences identifying - or not with this world?
3. The title, its use in the film? Provoking and audience? Curiosity, concern?
4. Terri and her marriage, love for Michael? Their social life? Accepting that they wouldn’t have children? Terri and her jewellery, her rounds and her friends? Michael's absence? The news about the child and its effect on her? Her having to go away, staying with her psychologist friend and her husband, discussing with them, the anger sequences, mistrust, disappointment? Her decision to-return, meeting Lisa, with the toys? The tentative approach? The reconciliation with Michael? Truth, honesty? Exasperation? The tensions with Lisa, Lisa’s dependence on the cook? The tantrums? Her losing her temper, ordering Lisa about, not being supported by Michael? Their arguments? Trying to get support from her friend? Her customers and the discussions? Friendship with Lisa, showing her the jewellery? Michael's absence, her exasperation, the clash, tearing the portrait of Sonia? The clash between the two, Lisa's dream, Terri's vigil outside her door? The final breakdown and reconciliation? Hope? The film’s insight into Terri's personality, character? The hurts? Wanting to do her best? The fights, the anguish? The hopes?
5. Michael, love for Terri, his life, the news from Peggy, Sonia and the child, Sonia's death? Meeting his daughter? The dilemmas, telling the truth to Terri, bringing Lisa back? His responsibility? Terri’s leaving, his welcoming his daughter? Reconciliation with Terri? Coping with the two of them, feeling in between them? Observing the clashes? Opting out? His absence, Terri's phone calls? His return to find the reconciliation? How well did the film portray his character, the short infidelity, his sense of responsibility, not telling the truth to Terri, handling the new situation, his response to his daughter?
6. Lisa, her Mother's death, the way that she had been bought up? Friendship with Peggy? Meeting Michael? Going to California, her grief? Wary of Terri? Tantrums at the table, wanting attention? Setting up the fights? Talking with the cook, the cooks wise words to her? Her anger at the cook being sent away? Attempts at friendship? The fights all over again? The nightmare? Consoled by Terri then turning on her? The final breakdown?
7. The psychologist and her friendship, her husband and support? Of both Terri and Michael? Her explanation of what was going on - reminding Terri of the infatuation her reaction to the man who was infatuated with her? Understanding the pressures on a little girl with love, hate and resentment?
8. The role of telemovies in exploring this kind of theme, in story form, helping wide audiences to understand situations, motivations, responsibilities, relationships?