I, too, am surprised this movie isn't more popular. I wouldn't rest until I got a copy on eBay, as it is so hard to find. Although several years had elapsed between viewings, I found it as fresh and meaningful as the first time I viewed it. Glynnis O'Connor (whatever happened to her?) is charming and believable as the illiterate but tough and determined mother who will do anything to get her child back. Don Johnson is chillingly evil - or maybe just plain mean - as the redneck husband and father and his performance is excellent, one of his very best (although brief). Paul Sorvino is low-key and believable as the mentor who teaches Melanie to read and changes her life. And who knew Burton Cummings was a really good actor? All in all, a very heartwarming movie, but not sappy or insulting to the intelligence. I highly recommend it for everyone but young children (the sight of Don smacking Glynnis' character around might be hard to take).