6 September 2009 | moonspinner55
Lumpen heart-tugger, unsuitably cast and lofty in the worst sense...
Small modern family, somewhat unhinged emotionally, decide to take in a healthy baby girl abandoned on the doorstep of their seaside vacation home. The parents, still grieving over a stillborn birth from years prior, are at slightly opposite ends of the situation, while their teenage daughter hopes to love the new addition despite the constant reminder the real mother will come back. Patricia MacLachlan co-adapted her book with David Manson and Kerry Kennedy, and was perhaps too anxious to ladle this TV-movie with a writer's lofty pretensions. Director Robert Allan Ackerman seems to have been taken in by MacLachlan's prose and gives the picture the kind of misty look one might envision for a 'prestigious' television event, but nothing which comes from this plot is very eventful. Much of the focus falls upon Alison Pill as daughter Larkin (her youthful confusion, her need to reach out and be reached out to), but the young actress is too studied, too careful in her reactions and responses; she's been prepared to be dynamic, though this low-gear scenario doesn't allow for such big emotions, and Pill comes off awkwardly half-animated and half-restrained. Farrah Fawcett's performance as the mother is a different matter: sluggish, at half-mast, Fawcett doesn't appear to believe in this material; indeed, it's a by-the-numbers enterprise at its core, with the husband logical and the wife loving (how neat and tidy!). Uninitiated, undiscriminating viewers might fall for it, however it's been done better, many times over.