Small Sacrifices (TV Mini-Series 1989)

TV Mini-Series   |    |  Crime, Drama, History

Episode Guide
Small Sacrifices (1989) Poster

A peculiar and disturbing case catches the attention of the police when a young mother and her children, all severely injured, show up in a hospital's emergency room.



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22 May 2007 | Isaac5855
| Farrah's Powerhouse Performance makes this one work...
Farrah Fawcett's Emmy-nominated performance is the centerpiece of SMALL SACRIFICES, a riveting, ABC mini-series based on the true story of Diane Downs, a cold-blooded woman who was sent to jail for murdering two of her three children. This teleplay presents Downs as the lonely, divorced working mother of three who appears on the outside to be a devoted and loving mother but as no qualms about putting her own needs first when the opportunity presents itself. While working at a post office, Diane begins a romance with one of her co-workers, Lew Lewiston (Ryan O'Neal)and things are going well until Diane learns that Lew doesn't like kids and has no desire to be a stepfather so Diane decides to kill her children. Fortunately, her daughter, somehow survives the brutal shooting and is taken into protective custody not only to protect her from further harm by her mother but to use her to help build a case to convict her mother. Fawcett gives the performance of her icy, heartless bitch who shouts of her innocence throughout the proceedings, even though all evidence points to her and has the nerve to be baffled by the fact that her daughter wants nothing to do with her. O'Neal's role here is more in the way of stunt casting as he was Fawcett's real life romance at the time and is wasted in a thankless role, but there are two solid performances from John Shea and Gordon Clapp as the two police detectives caught in the deadly cat and mouse game of trying to slip Diane up in order to nail her for this horrendous crime. Despite it's almost three-hour length, I found this movie fascinating from start to finish, thanks primarily to a powerhouse performance from Farrah Fawcett who got the role of her career and ran with it.

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