What Lisa Watched Last Night #101: The Trials of Cate McCall (dir by Karen Moncrieff)


Last Saturday, I watched the Lifetime premiere of The Trials of Cate McCall.  (Okay, so technically I did not watch this last night.  Instead, I watched it on Saturday night.  However, if not for the fact that I came down with literally the world’s worst cold, I would have written this review on Sunday.  Cut a girl some slack, okay?)

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!

What Was It About?

What isn’t it about?  Seriously, Cate McCall (Kate Beckinsale) has got a lot going on in her life.

Cate is a defense attorney.  She used to be a prosecutor but then she convicted the wrong man and she dealt with her guilt by becoming an alcoholic.  However, after being a few months sober and working under the watchful eye of her AA sponsor (Nick Nolte, of course), Cate is ready to take on the case of a Lacey Stubbs.  Cate is convinced that Lacey was wrongly convicted of murder and she is determined to get Lacey out of a prison.  Presiding over the case is Justice Sumpter (James Cromwell), who Cate had an affair with while she was a law student.

And, on top of all this, Cate is trying to get custody of her daughter and the innocent man she sent to prison wants to talk to her…

What Worked?

In the title role, Kate Beckinsale gave a great performance.  Due to the film’s somewhat disjointed editing, Kate had to basically carry the entire movie on her shoulders and she proved herself to be more than up to the task.

According to the imdb, Taye Diggs played the character of Austin Moseby.  However, at least in the version that was broadcast on Lifetime, there was no character named Austin Moseby and Taye Diggs was nowhere to be found.  I have to admit that I’ve had a lot of fun speculating about who Austin Moseby might have been and why Taye Diggs was apparently edited out of the film.  (Okay, technically, that’s not something that worked for the movie but it has worked towards keeping me amused.)

What Did Not Work?

Despite the snarky commentary that I posted on twitter while watching this film, I was really rooting for The Trials of Cate McCall.  Kate Beckinsale is one of my favorite actresses, I loved courtroom dramas, and I feel that I have something of a responsibility to support films that feature complex and multi-faceted female protagonists.  In other words, I so wanted The Trials of Cate McCall to be a good film.

Sadly, however, this film was never as good as I wanted it to be.  Whether it was the result of postproduction meddling or just inept filmmaking, The Trials of Cate McCall ultimately ended up feeling like a random collection of scenes that never quite added up to being a compelling narrative.  The film had potential but it just did not work.

Add to that, regardless of whether they were justified or not, Cate McCall’s actions towards the end of the film really should have gotten her disbarred.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Who couldn’t relate to Cate’s struggles to balance about six hundred different things at one time?

Lessons Learned

Just because Taye Diggs is listed as being in a movie doesn’t mean that he’s actually in the movie…

One response to “What Lisa Watched Last Night #101: The Trials of Cate McCall (dir by Karen Moncrieff)

  1. Pingback: 2014 in Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.