This made-for-TV movie, inspired by actual events, has a teleplay by Danial Freudenberger that avoids most of the cliches of the romantic triangle, and features an understated performance by Judith Light, who co-executive produces.
Light is caterer Lisa McKeever, who is on the verge of leaving her gambling cheating husband documentarian Eric (Jay Thomas) when he has a stroke. Although his speech is not affected, Eric is still immobilised, and Lisa feels obliged to stay in a loveless marriage. However romantic interest from her mechanic Art (William Russ) brings a complication.
Freudenberger makes Art so amenable, that Art's empathy with Eric subverts all Eric's anger and jealousy, though amusingly Lisa objects to Art's sensitive new age man routine when she snaps "Just love me. Don't try to understand me". We get doses of melodrama in a heart attack, the disapproval of the McKeever daughter ("There's a word for women who love two men"), and an air vent in Eric's room that allows him to overhear Lisa and Art having sex - though the latter is acknowledged by Lisa as a deliberate act of cruelty. Freudenberger's dialogue has the wit to have Eric describe the set-up as "the Popular Mechanics version of Jules and Jim", and has one of Eric's jokes repeated, though we also get "Why are you doing this?". Given that Lisa is a caterer and Art also a good cook, we also get a lunch where their food is eroticised as they eat chocolate.
Given that both Lisa and Art have good intentions, it's a shame that more is not made of Eric's anger, since these moments give Thomas his best moments. He is styled with a grey streak in his hair, but then both Light and Russ are also photographed with lines under their eyes.
Director Ted Kotchef creates a very clean atmosphere, with only one subjective camera angle and one expressionist shot, only one badly staged scene where Lisa eyeballs her daughter, and the sentimental music of Jonathan Goldsmith is tolerable.