What Lisa Watched Last Night #183: The Wrong Daughter (dir by Ben Myerson)

Last night, I watched The Wrong Daughter on the Lifetime Movie Network!

Why Was I Watching It?

I think I must have missed The Wrong Daughter when it originally premiered on Lifetime.  Maybe I was out spying on the neighbors or something.  Who knows?  Fortunately, Lifetime always shows their movies about a hundred different times during the year so, last night, I got a chance to catch up!

What Was It About?

Kate (Cindy Busby) has a lot to deal with!  Not only is she trying to open up her own restaurant but she and Joe (Jon Prescott) are desperate to start a family.  In the aftermath of another failed IVF treatment, Kate promptly starts repainting the nursery and talking about how she could turn the room into an office.  (Interestingly, they live in a pretty big house so I’m kind of surprised she didn’t have an office already.)  However, Joe has a solution!  Maybe Kate could try to track down the girl that she gave up for adoption 17 years ago!

Meanwhile, 18 year-old Samantha (Sydney Sweeney) is just about to get kicked out of her group home.  Abandoned by her mother when she was born, Samantha has never been adopted.  Why not?  Well, it might have something to do with Samantha being slightly psychotic.  And while you may be thinking that Samantha is probably Kate’s long lost daughter, she’s not!  However, her roommate is!  When Samantha runs away and steals Danica’s (Sierra Pond) laptop, she discovers a message from Kate, announcing that she’s Danica’s mother and inviting Danica to come see her.

Soon, Samantha is at Kate’s restaurant, dressed demurely, claiming to be Danica, and working her way into Kate and Joe’s life.  Meanwhile, the real Danica just wants her laptop back.  Samantha, however, is happy being Danica and is willing to do anything — from bribing an old homeless woman to pretend to be the head of the group home when Kate calls to murdering anyone who turns their back on her — to remains so.

What Worked?

This was a pretty good example of the “killer imposter” genre of Lifetime films.  Movies like this pretty much live and die based on the performance of the imposter and Sydney Sweeney did a good job playing the duplicitous Samantha.  It was especially fun to watch her switch back and forth between being demure Danica and murderous Samantha.

What Did Not Work?

How naive can one person be?  That’s kind of the question that I had to ask about Kate, who was both a savvy businesswoman and yet somehow was easily fooled by even the most obvious of Samantha’s lies.  As much fun as it was to watch Kate get fooled over the phone by a crazy homeless woman, it was still hard not to wonder how that could have possibly happened in the first place.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

From the minute Samantha first climbed through the window of her group home, I started having flashbacks.  That’s the same way that I used to sneak out of the house.  When you’re growing up in the suburbs, it helps to be a good climber.

Lessons Learned

Protect your laptop with you life.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #151: Marriage of Lies (dir by Danny J. Boyle)

Last night, after I got home from my aborted attempt to celebrate Memorial Day a week early (read the previous post for details), I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, Marriage of Lies!


Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that not only was it on Lifetime but it also had one of the most stereotypically Lifetime titles ever.

Marriage of Lies!

It just screams Lifetime melodrama, doesn’t it?

There I was, still feeling embarrassed over getting the date of Memorial Day wrong, and what do I see listed in guide?  Marriage of Lies!  As soon as I saw that title, I knew everything was going to be okay.

What Was It About?

Call it Gone Guy.

One morning, Rachel Wilson (April Browlby) wakes up to discover that her husband, popular teacher Tye Wilson (Brody Hutzler), is gone.  Because their marriage is already troubled because of a past infidelity on Tye’s part, Rachel thinks that Tye has just temporarily gone off on his own.  She doesn’t report him missing for two days and, after she does, she suddenly finds that she’s the number one suspect.

Everyone thinks that Rachel murdered her missing husband, including a world-weary detective named Gus (played by Corin Nemec).  At first, it seems like Rachel’s only ally is her best friend (Virginia Williams) but soon, Rachel starts to doubt even her.

With reporters camping out in her front yard and the entire world convinced of her guilt, Rachel starts to wonder if Tye’s actually been abducted and/or murdered or if maybe there’s something even stranger going on…

What Worked?

Marriage of Lies was fairly well-done.  The actors all did a good job.  Among those of us who were live-tweeting the film on twitter, Detective Roper (played by Zachary Garred) quickly emerged as our favorite character.  Roper was Gus’s partner.  Whereas Gus was cynical and beaten-down by life, Roper seemed to actually be having fun with his job.  Of course, he was also pretty quick to assume that Rachel was guilty but that was just Roper being Roper!

The ending, with its suggestion that the truth means nothing and that sensation-seeking observers have no real interest in reality, was properly cynical and nicely done.

What Did Not Work?

The movie played a bit too slowly and the pacing definitely felt a bit off.  (Of course, it’s difficult to judge these things when the action has to stop every 17 minutes or so for a commercial break.)

After all of the build up, I was hoping that the eventual solution to Tye’s disappearance would turn out to be totally fucked up and weird but instead, it pretty much played out the way that I predicted it would after the first five minutes of the film.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I have to admit that I related to the character of Kinna (Madison Iseman), who was one of Mr. Wilson’s students and who had a huge crush on him.  I felt that way about some of my teachers when I was in high school.  Also, much like Kinna, I would probably be totally useless as a member of a search party.

Lessons Learned

It’s easier to vanish than you might think.