What would you do if, one day, you were suddenly told that everything that you believed was a delusion?
That’s question that rests at the heart of A Mother On The Edge, a film that aired on Lifetime earlier this month.
The mother of the title is Blair Ayken (Kelly Thiebaud). When we first meet Blair, her life is definitely in flux. She’s wrapped up in a lawsuit with a former business partner. Her sleazy ex-husband, Simon (Matt Hamilton), is …. well, he’s acting like a sleazy ex-husband. She still occasionally has nightmares about a serious auto accident that occurred a year earlier. Perhaps the only bright spot in her life is her daughter, Lori (Lina Renna).
Or is she?
One day, Blair goes to her daughter’s school and can’t find Lori. When she goes to the office, she’s informed that the school has never had a student named Lori Ayken. When she talks to the students who she believed to be Lori’s classmates, they all tell her that they’ve never seen or heard of Lori. When Blair goes to her friend and lawyer, Cynthia (Alison Wandzura), Cynthia reveals that, though she’s heard a lot about Lori from Blair, she’s never actually met her. Finally, when Blair confronts Simon and demands to know where Lori is, Simon tells her that she’s gone crazy. Lori, he explains, has been dead for a year. She died in the very same car accident about which Blair has been having nightmares.
Blair swears that her daughter is alive and has been kidnapped. Everyone around her swears that Lori has been dead for a year and that Blair has lost her mind. Even Cynthia gets a little bit upset when Blair speaks up at a court hearing and starts to explain her theory that everyone but her is either incorrect or lying. So, who is correct? The best thing about A Mother On The Edge is that it keeps you guessing. Since Blair is the main character and Simon is such a sleaze, our natural instinct is to believe her. But, it’s hard not to have doubts. As sure as Blair is that Lori is alive, everyone else seems to be equally sure that Blair is delusional. As I watched the film, I found myself going back and forth. At first, I was like, “Well, this is obviously a setup” but then I was like, “Maybe Blair really is crazy.”
A lot of that was due to the performance of Kelly Thiebaud. She did a great job capturing both Blair’s initial panic and also her determination to not only prove that Lori was alive but to also rescue her. Thiebaud brought just enough of a nervous edginess to her performance that you easily could understand why people might view her as being unbalanced and, as a result, you were never quite sure just how much you should trust her beliefs. She kept you wondering. It was a performance that left me wondering how I was would react and what I would do if I ever found myself in Blair’s situation.
I also liked the performance of Phillip Mitchell, who played a character known as The Fixer and who brought just the right combination of menace and annoyance to his role. I can’t reveal too much about his role without spoiling the film but Mitchell definitely made an impression.
A Mother On The Edge originally aired on Lifetime on May 3rd. Fortunately, Lifetime tends to rebroadcast their films several times during the year so keep an eye out for A Mother On The Edge.