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On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that a stranger shot at them but the investigation of detective Welch bring out that Diane is a liar.Written by
When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain. See more »
[after delivering a telling argument against Diane's version of the story]
A child, Shauna, was killed. A little girl who isn't here anymore. For what? For Diane Down's warped sense of values. Robbie won't walk, Karen won't have the use of her arm the way it was.
[His voice wavers]
These children will *never* be the same.
[Begins to erupt in rage]
And look, Diane Downs-! For once, you're not going to lie your way out of this situation, it just doesn't cut it! You're a murderer! A cold-blooded, ...
[...] See more »
The TV movie format has been used endlessly to depict true crime stories, from parents who kill their children, to children who kill their parents, to rape, to theft, to abuse. I myself saw two or three similar films just last week. So what makes a rather unassuming TV movie from 1989 like "Small Sacrifices" stand out so much? It's hard to say. Certainly the acting has a lot to offer. Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal, and John Shea - three well-known actors whom I was familiar with but never previously cared for - are the dramatic core of the script. They all perform well beyond expectations. Fawcett, for example, who I would've thought incapable of such depth, is alternately terrifying and emotionally unhinged. It's a breathtaking performance. The real surprise, however, is young Emily Perkins. Or not such a surprise for me, because I'd been familiar with her heartbreaking role in the last four seasons of "Da Vinci's Inquest". But even at the tender age of twelve, she is a fully realized actress of incredible range. Her testimony on the stand is so emotional that it left me in tears. This is a performance without cliché.
"Small Sacrifices" isn't yet another painful exercise in domestic unrest, like it might appear to be on the surface. David Greene seems very aware of what he wants to get out his film here, and he directs the human interaction brilliantly. It's a hard film, sure - really hard - but powerfully dramatic. One of the best of its kind.
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