On Friday night, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, Long Lost Daughter!
Why Was I Watching It?
First off, let me just say that, considering what the folks on the East Coast have had to deal with over the past two weeks, I feel really guilty about complaining about getting a little bit of rain in Texas. (And it’s not really a complaint because, to be honest, I love stormy weather!)
That said, it rained all day Friday and it’s supposed to continue to rain through the weekend. When I was driving home from work, the rain was so bad that I actually had to limit myself to 30 mph. We’re under flash flood warning right now. What better way to pass the time when you’re trapped inside by a storm than be watching a Lifetime movie?
What Was It About?
Cathy Rhodes (Molly Hagan) is a successful and acclaimed author of children’s books. She’s written hundreds of stories about Mr. Poppins, a rabbit who can’t find his way home. It’s made her a beloved figure in her small town but there are some who find Cathy and her husband (Bates Wilder) to be a little bit strange. They whisper about how, 20 years earlier, Cathy’s 7 year-old daughter, Michelle, vanished.
Meanwhile, two new arrivals have come to town. Jonathan (Richard Brancatisano) is an aspiring science fiction writer. And his wife (Sofia Mattson) is going to help run the education center that Cathy has helped to fund. It turns out that Jonathan’s wife is 27 years old and has no memory of her mother or her childhood. And her name is …. Michelle!
Could Michelle be Cathy’s daughter? That’s certainly what Cathy thinks and she’s willing to do anything to make sure that both her daughter and Mr. Poppins find their way home…
Molly Hagan may not be a household name but I can guarantee you that you would recognize her if you saw her. She’s been in a countless number of films over the years and she is a truly great character actress. She’s played so many different characters and she’s been totally convincing every time. (I think her best-known recent film might be Sully, where she played one of the flight attendants who chanted, “Brace! Brace! Head down! Stay down!”) Anyway, Hagan does a great job as the Cathy Rhodes, making her both frightening and sympathetic.
Also giving a good performance was Bates Wilder, who played Cathy’s somewhat creepy husband. Both he and Hagan keep you guessing.
Speaking of keeping you guessing, this film had an ambiguous ending that I absolutely loved. I won’t spoil it but it was handled very well. It’s the type of ending that I wish Lifetime would try more often. Sometime, it’s not necessary to spell everything out.
What Did Not Work?
Could Michelle and Jonathan have been anymore unlikable? Michelle acted like moving from the city to a small town was the equivalent of moving to a different country. When Cathy mentioned she was making a casserole, Michelle’s smug response of, “Casserole!” was enough to make me decided that I wouldn’t ever want to know someone like Michelle in real life.
As for Jonathan … well, I lost all sympathy for him when he announced that, for him, being a writer was about business and not art. “No one ever reads Proust anymore,” he said, at one point. What a jerk! Michelle, at least, kinda redeemed herself as the film progressed. But Jonathan …. well, once a jerk, always a jerk.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
Whenever Michelle got annoyed with Jonathan, I was like, “Oh my God! I feel the exact same way!”
Don’t insult Proust.