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  • I'm positive some people identified with this movie, therefore it deserves defending. The things people complained about or said were unrealistic, well maybe to some yes, but to others it is a shocking view of their world.

    I thought certain things, the flaws as others have called them, were the most realistic parts. The "angst-ridden" teen, the stand offish parents, the drama of her loneliness, these are real.

    Life really can be like that for people, especially teenagers. No, not all, probably not even most. But I have seen them. It is not difficult for someone so young to fall into a world of self loathing and self destructive behavior, whether it be drugs, sex, or a more complex issue like bulimia or cutting.

    High school can be wicked, and not everyone has the ability to "develop a thick skin." Kids that have few or no real friends can feel very isolated, even with "normal" supportive parents.

    As for the clueless parents, they just seem human to me. People do get confused, hide their emotions and do all the wrong things. Often, parents have unresolved issues that are hidden even to themselves. These issues often effect how they handle situations such as these.

    Yes, you do have to read a lot into this movie. But a movie that spells it all out for you is a documentary, not a drama. Thought provoking films have much hidden depth, as this one did. A valiant effort for a TV movie I should think.

    Oh, one more thing I'd like to offer my viewpoint on. I didn't think she looked orgasmic after her cutting. I thought she looked numb, like her pain was quiet. I have to agree with whomever called it an addiction. One can have many ways of masquerading control over life. This is just one on a list of thousands.
  • Lady_Scarerow23 November 2004
    I first watched this film on the Lifetime channel because my favorite actor, Kett Turton, was in it. I was hesitant to watch it at first, being a self injurer myself, I was worried it might be triggering for me. The first time I watched it, I had though it was done with an outstanding accuracy and had applauded it openly.

    I saw it again recently and realized, judging from my own personal experiences, that it isn't as accurate as I had once thought, but not too far off. A prime example of it's inaccuracy would be how excited Dawn seemed to get while cutting. It might be that way for some, but for me it seemed odd and a very unrealistic reaction unless she happened to be masochistic. But it's inaccuracy there is outnumbered by the accuracy I did find. The franticness in which she cut was precise and realistic. I also found the way she was so ashamed of her cuts and always hiding them is extremely characteristic of a self-injurer. It shows that contrary to popular belief, us self-injurers aren't all "attention whores", parading our scars and cuts, flaunting our pain.

    I believe that the first time I watched it when I was 13, I think I got what I wanted to from the film, and now being 16, I realize it's still the same: self-injury is slowly but surely making itself more main-stream and something needs to be done about it.

    I am an avid cutter myself, but luckily go through bouts of time where I won't even look at a sharp object. Self injury is a condition people should recognize more and this movie shows how serious it can get without the cutter realizing that it only takes one cut too deep and it could all be over. I will admit, I am a total hypocrite towards this issue: I say don't do it and I do it myself. I suggest this movie to anyone who is a self-injurer or have a friend or family member who injures themselves.

    If you hurt yourself or know someone who does, you should go to this site, it has a lot of good information whether you cut or not.
  • As a recovering self injurer of eleven years, I had high hopes for this film. What could have been a film that brought awareness to this difficult issue, Secret Cutting was an over-dramatized mess. Dawn was portrayed as the friendless school loser, which is frankly a stereotype I'm tired of seeing. The thing about a lot of self injurers is that they can be the girl/guy next door, the very last person you would ever expect. Furthermore, the portrayal of the actual self injury was more like an addict shooting up heroin, and at times, Dawn seemed almost insane. People who self harm are not crazy, not suicidal, and are not rushed to the hospital every week for life threatening self inflicted injuries (excepting of course the most extreme cases). I can't be the only one who is tired of film makers taking the easy way out for the sake of the added drama. In the mean time, unless you're looking for some over the top theatrics, hold out for a time when someone who actually cares about the issue decides to make a real movie.
  • Since the dawn of time, or at least since Hamlet, the existence of self-destructive behavior has been clearly recorded. What's funny is that it has historically been shown in a glamorous way, whether we're talking about Hamlet's cool early-Elizabethan Emo attitude, or Humphrey Bogart's suave whiskey-swilling alcoholism in Casablanca, or Batman's heroic death wish. Literature loves psychologically damaged heroes. But the real world often treats this sort of behavior with contempt, and that's what "Painful Secrets" depicts.

    Doesn't matter who you are, every person has known some feeling of self-harm, whether it's literally cutting like in this movie or smoking cigarettes or eating a triple fudge brownie against your doctor's orders. Obviously this movie takes it a bit further than triple fudge brownies. Written by Steven Levenkron, a respected psychotherapist who has been studying disorders like anorexia since the 1970s, "Painful Secrets" takes an informed approach to the tricky subject of self-mutilation.

    This is the story of a teenage girl whose dysfunctional family and social awkwardness lead her to cut herself, ironically, to control her pain. No, she doesn't do it for an orgasmic high like some people might think self-mutilation is about (that would be masochism); in this case she does it as a coping mechanism when her anxiety gets out of control. Not so different from the workout junkie at the gym who bench presses 350 lbs to feel the burn, "cutting" we learn is about physical control. The film assumes that you have some familiarity with the subject so it doesn't waste much time introducing the premise. Also don't expect a tidy Hollywood ending because something like this doesn't have any tidy Hollywood endings. Instead, this film delivers a very realistic story raising more questions than answers.

    Being a USA Network TV production, it does have a certain polished "ABC afterschool special" feel, but not annoyingly so. In fact the glossy exterior works to its advantage later in the film when things get suddenly more intense and raw. I was impressed to see that the film didn't pull any punches in the last half. Although there is no explicit gore & sexuality on screen, the implications are pretty clear.

    "Painful Secrets" doesn't claim to tell the story of every troubled teen, but it does a pretty good job of hitting the common issues that accompany the phenomenon of self-injury. In particular: alienation from society (no friends), bullying in school and conflicts at home. It's the home life that I found to be very well done. Nothing cartoonish like some Cinderella wicked stepmom, but much more subtle and insidious: a mother whose own fear of blame leads her to unintentionally heap guilt on her daughter. And perhaps more frighteningly common in American homes: a failing marriage that is secretly absorbed by the children (note to fighting parents: you can NOT hide it from your kids, they're smarter than you are).

    The acting is very believable, with powerful moments from each major character: the girl (played by Kimberlee Peterson, known for The West Wing and Boston Public), the mother (played by Sean Young from the 80s thriller "No Way Out"), the father (played by Robert Wisden who has many TV credits from The X-Files to Stargate SG1 to Battlestar Galactica), and of course the therapist (played by Rhea Perlman from Cheers) who doesn't actually have a lot of screen time but plays each scene with the perfect amount of delicacy.

    Regardless of subject matter, I'm a fan of films that force the audience to work. I never found the story to be dull or predictable. It kept my mind working from start to finish. Despite all outward appearances of being a made-for-TV-movie, this is one of the most unusual of the lot, at times with an indie feel like "The Squid and the Whale" (another great film about a troubled teen with a lousy home life). "Painful Secrets" gets bonus points for being the only movie I've heard of that boldly tackles the issue of self-harm. Another good film to consider is "Archie's Final Project" a somewhat light-hearted (though respectful) film about teen suicide, or if you're not afraid of experimental indie flicks check out "The Tracey Fragments" with Ellen Page playing a 15-year-old girl who runs away from home following a horrible event.
  • notreadytorun30 December 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    The storyline had a good concept, and the point they were trying to get across was good, but, as excited as I was at first to watch this, I have to say this was a very ridiculous movie.

    Dawn's reaction to the cutting was ridiculous. Coming from someone who used to do these things, I can just say that her emotions were over done and totally inappropriate for this. Unless she's a masochist or being possessed by a demon, the expressions and reactions she was making were terrible and not even a proper response to the cutting. She extremely over exaggerated everything. The writers over exaggerated the image of self-harmers as well. This movie makes them appear to be some sort of psycho, cry baby freaks.

    As for the ending, I can't even begin to express how angry I was with it. They left so many things open and left for question. Does she quit cutting? Does her mom come home? You can't just end a movie with that many loose ends.

    The most realistic thing about this movie is how her parents reacted to it. Other than that, this storyline was so unrealistic, over exaggerated, and it is pretty offensive to people who have been through these things before.
  • This was an excellent movie for a family to watch together. I was happy that it wasn't a movie that starts off with a troubled teen, then halfway thorough the movie, they get help, and in the end, they're perfectly fine. It shows was actually goes on with self-mutilation. Cutting isn't a very known thing but this movie brings it to light. It also shows how these problems don't just fix themselves in a matter of weeks; it takes time and understanding from everyone involved in the said person's life.
  • Television movie-makers do lots of movies that dramatize an issue to draw attention to it -- diseases and other problems. While well-intentioned, most such movies are crummy "disease of the week" melodramas. "Secret Cutting" stands out as an issue drama that's actually a pretty good movie.

    The movie centers on Dawn, an ordinary unpopular high school girl who deals with the stresses of life by cutting herself. Her cutting isn't suicidal; instead she tries to overcome psychological pain by inflicting self-controlled physical pain on herself.

    Her mother is not at all understanding -- she talks down to her, and tries to help by taking Dawn shopping, rather than listening to Dawn's problems. Her father is quite understanding, but is rarely there for her, because he's usually at work. Her little brother is a typical rude young boy, and even if he were were supportive he wouldn't have the wisdom to help her much. At school, the "popular" girls just mock her for being an art geek. Her boyfriend has one thing on his mind, and it's not her psychological well being. In short, no one is there for her.

    Eventually, people start discovering Dawn's self-injury, when a teacher notices her bleeding. He sends her to the school nurse, who in turn notifies her parents. Her mother reacts by demanding that she stop cutting herself, and when that fails, she hides every sharp object in the house. Her father's efforts to help are undermined by her mother, who reacts to his efforts to help by asking him, "are you saying she's doing this because I'm a bad mother?"

    When Dawn cuts herself again at school, Lorraine, an outcast, sees her doing the cutting. Rather than being cruel or indifferent like most kids in school, she becomes concerned. She manages to show her concerns in a way that makes them friends, rather than scaring Dawn into withdrawal. Lorraine even tries to introduce Dawn to her "shrink". But even though Dawn starts to find a support group, her self-injury problem worsens.

    The dramatic tension builds through most of the movie, leading to a climax near the end, and finally an incomplete resolution that feels dramatically right. Dawn is particularly convincing. Her experiences as a somewhat-geeky are no worse than a typical high school experience, but we can see how she turns high school misfortunes inward on herself, where others might release their tensions with rage, escapism, or talking them out with a support group. She's well-written, acted, and directed. Her mother initially seems unhelpful just to explain Dawn's pain, but the story eventually reveals why she so often reacts the wrong way. The cruel "popular" girls at school are very convincing -- such kids aren't always mean, but the movie portrays the mean ones just right.

    In addition to being a work of drama, the movie is also presenting the issue of self-injury. The incomplete resolution in particular seems to be an important point. While a documentary about the subject could have presented as much information about the problem in a half hour, the movie did that and still worked as entertainment. As an issue drama, it's one of the best. Even as a general movie it's above average.
  • jeremyb20 January 2001
    I have a loved one who has engaged in this type of activity. This movie was both painful and insightful to watch. Having lived through all of the emotions and feelings of the parents and friends, it was strange to realize that this condition is much more common than I had ever imagined. It was also a strong impetus to show this movie to my loved one and help them through the issues, as much as I could. It has been a long time since anything else has happened, and I believe that this movie had a bit of an impact.

    The acting is a little stilted/scripted, and the story is a bit predictable, but the power of the story is still there. This is a dangerous, disfiguring, and potentially debilitating condition, and if this movie helped one person, or saved one life, it was worth it. If anyone knows of or loves someone who repeatedly harms themself, this movie is a must see, and I applaud the producers, crew, and cast, as well as the USA Network for providing insight into what is a very scary, but very important issue.
  • I saw this movie when it first came out, but when I watched it again a few months ago it stuck more. I've seen other movies, television shows, etc. about self injury. This one has got to be in the top 3. Besides the Degrassi episode "Whisper to a Scream." I think self injury was best shown here. It didn't make Dawn out to be a monster, even though her classmate's were pukes about it. It showed her having fun and leading a normal life at times, but then the pain and feelings of hopelessness as well. This is a very very hard subject to tackle well, but this one did it. There were a lot of very good quotes by her therapist (Pearlman) that really hit home. The end needed to be a bit longer, it wrapped stuff up too quick. Still an amazing movie, and performance by Kimberlee Peterson.
  • BeckaM20 August 2002
    well.. now that i've refreshed my memory by reading some comments. i can say some things about this movie. but first.. i'd like to say.. cutting urself isn't really a disease or a syndrome, like some have said. instead i believe it is an addiction and a way of dealing with things. i think some people who have commented on this aren't thinking about how every situation is different. i think this is a typical situation. an unpopular girl is depressed and gets angry and tense and what not and calms herself by cutting herself.. not my situation in the least..

    i don't remember the acting too well, but probably it wasn't too good.. that is to be expected though i would think.. self-mutilation is not known very well. in fact when i started i did not even know people did that. and there are several ways to mutilate yourself. burning and branding yourself, hitting urself, gauging your ears for the purpose of inflicting pain upon yourself, digging things into your skin, or little things like scratching yourself are other ways to hurt yourself. that is not really shown in this film.

    on the whole this film is informative, but you really don't know the feeling of it unless you have experienced it. it may be scary to see fake cuts on people, buh seeing your skin open up a cm or more wide.. now thats something to be scared about.. i know that most people don't get why people cut themselves.. they don't understand. in this movie though, at least it gives information, situations, outlooks, behaviors, etc so that people may understand more.. buh really there is so much more to it. more situations.. like death and suicide and the inability to cope with things.. oh well, it was alright i guess. from what i remember..
  • Take the world from American Beauty, and replace the superstar parents with their B-movie equivalents, and you have Secret Cutting. It's a good watch, and I learned something about cutting. I don't know if the reasons cited in the movie for cutting oneself are the main reasons that most cutters do it, but it seems believable. And yes, I'd cut the mother a couple of times as well. And the script for the father seemed really off-key, like they didn't spend enough time developing the father's character. He would always start to say something meaningfull or interesting, then he'd just cut himself off. Maybe he has some problem saying everything in his mind and they wanted to show this, but the fact that its so vague makes the scripting pretty average.

    I'd recommmend this movie highly due to the very good performance by the main character Kimberlee Peterson.
  • I saw this movie a couple of months back so I am trying to remember the main parts of it. Most people, and almost everybody that has already commented on it seems to hate it. I however, thought that it was a good idea with a strong script.

    Not the best TV movie I have ever seen, not even close, but good none the less. What I can remember is that the main character was played by a somewhat believable actress. Believable of how she acted on her psychotic tendencies to destroy her body, and how she handled the humiliation from her classmates. I thought that this character was well designed. The actor/actress who play the parents of the teenager were also good but lacked somewhat of parental control. Their inability to deal with their daughter's problem seems to make me laugh a little.

    While this film has a good script to back up a good problem that most people deal with, it does lack some interesting parts. Let's hear it for USA who had the courage to put something like this on their channel. It was good for a popular problem to be exposed on TV but it carried out with parts that almost made me fall asleep at times. Finally, a movie that shows the actuality of what could happen when urges take over life.

    As a couple of people have said, I have to agree that the ending was a tremendous let down. It ended with a lot of questions unanswered. A lot of questions that I had. "Secret Cutting" is a good TV movie but it could have been shortened. Considering that this is what really happens to people, I was amazed by it.
  • gt1951a30 May 2000
    great movie...not a subject I knew much about, but it was very intriguing...much better than the standard made for tv movie...great performance by Kimberlee Peterson. I hope she'll be onscreen a lot more.
  • The title "Secret Cutting" seems sensationalistic, but it is very real, and based on true case studies Dr. Steven Levenkron (psychiatrist/author who also wrote "The Best Little Girl in the World" - dealing with anorexia) This film is a good example of the positive aspects of a GOOD Lifetime movie, it can inform both parents, friends and teachers as to a reality not everyone wishes to face.

    Sean Young is very good as an over-protective Mom who wishes the best for her daughter, but doesn't know how to give it- she has been traumatized herself by the accidental death of her infant sister. Kimberlee Peterson portrays the sensitive daughter, who is teased and alienated by classmates, had low self-esteem, and a destructive relationship with her boyfriend.

    Robert Wisden portrays the father, who lives in denial and feels helpless, although he clearly loves his daughter. It would have been nice to see further character development with his part, as the father daughter issue is sometimes bypassed.

    Rhea Perlman was surprisingly good as the therapist who eventually works with Peterson on her self-destructive tendencies. Many teens "cut" to remind themselves they are alive, or to feel something, ANYTHING, other than the alienation they live with. Anyone unfamiliar with the subject may think this to be an extreme reaction, but it is very common, instead of drinking, or drugs, some individuals turn to "cutting" as a defense mechanism. This is an important issue which everyone should be aware of. In the film, you see the denial and drive for perfection which results in cutting- Peterson cannot be the popular girl her mother wishes she was, so she cuts herself, as punishment.

    There is one scene in particular which is very sad. Peterson was involved in a school play, and draws wolves for her art class. After she is hospitalized for another cutting incident, her mother returns home, cleaning her room, and sees the beautiful pictures of the wolves her daughter has drawn. She is overcome with sadness, blaming herself, her bad marriage, and ends up separating from the family; running from the problem. There are no easy answers or trite endings with psychological issues.

    I will not divulge the ending, but everyone should watch this film- especially in America- where the "popular" issue and peer pressure is so overblown. Will society ever learn? In a country where some mothers compete about cheer leading, kids are killed for being bullies or too popular- the violence seems immeasurable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Dawn Cottrell is a pretty, artistic girl who is just trying to fit into high school. Her one problem is that she suffers from a phenomenon known as 'self mutilation' where she injures herself by slashing at her skin to relieve stress. Not only is school difficult for Dawn, but her home life is less to be desired. She has an ignorant mother who poorly understands Dawn and her problem, a father who she can barely identify with and a brother who she does not see eye to eye with. Dawn later seeks help from a psychiatrist who assists to ease her pain.

    Secret Cutting depicts a topic that is in need of understanding, as self mutilation is often seen as taboo and as attention seeking. The film portrays 'cutters' to be sexually promiscuous, unstable and to live in dysfunctional families.

    Despite the flawed story line, Sean Young, Kimberlee Peterson and Rhea Pearlman were excellent actors.
  • ctcer5318 May 2002
    While I did not think this movie was terrible, I didn't think it was great either. But, it did have the creepy factor down. It put me in a numb, thoughtless mood for a few hours after I finished watching it. The scene that I really think got me was when she used the razor and cut her stomach, etc.

    I thought that this was a pretty decent film for someone who knew nothing about cutting. However, I am really sick of these "awareness" movies, about things like cutting, eating disorders, etc., who try to show a "typical" victim. Even when they try to make the victim come from a "typical" family, such as in "Secret Cutting," there are always obvious factors (usually external) that provoke the problem. Why can't they ever show a character who doesn't know or can't explain what makes her (or him) do whatever she is doing? It upsets me that these kind of movies always make everything so clear-cut and easy to understand.

    However, Dawn's situation in this movie did explain her cutting, and the movie was overall good. While some people commented that her expressions and the "orgasmic" cutting experience were unrealistic, I fully disagree. For some, at least, cutting is a way of releasing inner feelings - it calms you down. You can feel all the stress and pain from life fade away for a little while. I think that, if anything, Dawn's expressions while she is cutting makes it more realistic, and shows the depth of her cutting. Overall, it's not a great movie, but it's not terrible either.
  • I love this movie. It's about a Girl who takes out her pain by cutting herself. And i'm just like the Character in some ways. I'm a cutter,and sometimes I do the eye brow thing. Hope you like it, if you never saw it before. The girl is a great actress for the job. The first time I saw the movie, i was about 10, now I'm 12 and This movie is my favorite one now. Thank's for Reading my comment. I love the movie, but I don't know who Directed it. "Painful Secrets" aka: "Secret cutting". Kimberlee Peterson's movies / TV shows are usually pretty cool. My friend saw it, and she told me about it, saying i really needed to see it. She was right, and I loved it and still do.
  • Horror films are a big interest to me and I enjoy them very much. However, this film made me very nervous and some what upset, I actually had to look away from the screen. Kimberlee Peterson,(Dawn Cottrell),"Farewell My Love",'01, gave a great performance as a very very disturbed young gal in high school and having problems trying to adjust. A great deal of her problems were found in her own family and the way her Mom & Dad and step brother treated her. Dawn was on a stairway in the boiler room of the high school and was jamming something in her leg and at first I thought it was a needle for drugs, but later found out it was a big gash in her leg. This film clearly shows a new illness that has come to pass in our Society that needs the attention of all parents and students. It is a very hard film to watch, but very down to earth and quite possibly helpful to anyone having these Horrible Problems. Please don't make yourself a Pin Cushion, GET HELP!!!
  • As a cutter and one with mental health issues, I have been everything from disenchanted to outright offended by Hollywood portrayals of such conditions for the sole purpose of being entertaining and making money. Most films/shows about mental illnesses (and it's symptoms, like cutting) have done much more harm than good. Self injury remains today one of thee most stigmatized coping behaviors. I experienced the ridicule and shame at school that the main character experiences in this film. That was 24 years ago! In 24 years our culture has hardly moved forward at all. I went all of my adult life as an 'X'cutter..until my past caught up with me. Today I'm an adult cutter. Talk about UNHEARD of! It's not just a teenage thing. It is not uncommon for one with childhood abuse. Here's an example of a misunderstanding that persists from one of the commentators here: "how she acted on her psychotic tendencies to destroy her body". NOT psychotic. Do you know what psychotic means? Totally out of touch with reality. Insane. Episodes that schizophrenics have, or someone who is having a severely manic episode of bipolar. Seeing hallucinations, hearing voices outside your head. Those things are psychotic. But the inability to speak emotions and tolerate the point of having to find an extreme coping mechanism like cutting, is not psychotic, it's resourceful. Down to it: Aside from other comments here from other cutters, which I shall respect as I don't speak for them all. I did not let myself get hung up on the 'quality' of acting...or seek to find fault with small details. I instead appreciated the fact that several myths about self injury were dispelled in this film. 1. Self injury is NOT suicide. In fact, it often prevents one from suicide. 2. It is NOT a ploy for attention. A large majority of SI'ers go out of their way to keep scars hidden. Whether they're personally ashamed of them or not, they know that others will shame them. 3. Self injury is NOT a behavior that one most could stop if they just wanted to badly enough. In fact, it can and does become repetitive. Whether because one actually becomes 'addicted' to a somewhat euphoric after state or...if just because it really does WORK to accomplish jolting one out of dissociated states, distracting from inner pain, letting out of anger...etc. If it'll do it again. As I said, it is resourceful...i.e. useful. Most can and will only stop if other, better resources are made available first. Verbal communication, safe environment to express strong emotions, etc. and facing of the root pain. These are resources that they likely don't have or they wouldn't have started to begin with. So whether you liked the quality of acting or not...or thought the main character here was melodramatic about her immediate response to beside the point. The film accomplished something no other has to my knowledge. It raised awareness and dispelled myths....and for a cutter (NOT mutilator please, that's another myth)...I am grateful for any and all accurate information they did give here in this film. Is it short of the mark? Sure. But it's a lot closer. Now maybe someone will come out with one about adult survivors of CSA and show that cutting is not just a teenage thing. Maybe. Til then, I'll keep my sleeves down while I salute the makers of this film for their efforts.
  • eliselovesfairies9 November 2010
    I watched the film about 2 weeks ago, I was alone downstairs and I wasn't so sure about watching it, as it would upset me because I'm a cutter myself and i was worried about it triggering something. I think the film shows Dawn having a few problems but no way near as bad as most people. I used to have a family life a little worse than that in fact i still do and things in her life to me were nothing compared to how bad things in other peoples life was and in mine which i found quite insulting in a way, but i did enjoy it i would like to watch it again but maybe it needs to be a little more realistic, I also thought the cuts were a little strange as they don't bleed like that which to me felt like i was not cutting right which sounds awful but anyway i do think that people should watch this movie and get a feeling of how it does ruin your life.
  • As a recovering cutter, I'd read Steven Levenkron's book (as well as other books on self-injury) and I was very interested when I heard that a movie was being made about this very important issue, and I watched (and taped it) when it first premiered under the title, "Secret Cutting" (before the title was later renamed as "Painful Secrets")

    When I had been cutting, and when it had been discovered, 10-12 years ago, there had been hardly ANY information about it anywhere. As such there was a LOT of stigma, discrimination and myths associated with it. I think it is a good thing that important issues like this be brought out of the closet and discussed, so there is more information about it out there, and those who suffer will not be scared or ashamed to get help.

    So I was very excited when I heard this movie was coming out.

    However, even before I actually saw the movie, I had a feeling that the casting would not be good when I saw Rhea Perlman being interviewed on one of the morning shows or talk shows about the movie, and heard that she would be playing the role of the therapist. I thought that, it was an AWFUL choice, and if that was a representation of the judgement of the casting director, that for most part the other characters would probably be no better - and I was unfortunately right.

    Now don't get me wrong, I have NOTHING against Rhea Perlman. She is a WONDERFUL comedic actress. I LOVED her in "Matilda" and other movies and shows. But she is not good at serious drama, and she was totally unsuited for an important role that is not meant to be funny like that of this character.I mean every time I saw her different facial expressions and body language, I got the urge to laugh, which is not the purpose of a serious issue movie like this.

    A better choice would be someone who can exude compassion, and empathy in her acting, like Nancy Lee Grahn (of General Hospital, 7th Heaven, and other shows) or Teryl Rothery (of Stargate SG-1, who has acted in MANY, MANY made-for-TV movies). Alternately, actresses like Stepfanie Kramer, Patti LuPone, Veronica Hamel, Pam Dawber, and a few others would likely have been good choices for this role. Even Sean Young (who played the mother in this film) would have been a much better casting choice for the part of the therapist, than Rhea Perlman was.

    Unfortunately, the bad casting choices did not end with Rhea Perlman. The main role of this movie,the starring character, Dawn Cottrell, was played by Kimberlee Peterson - another HORRIBLE choice.

    Again, I have nothing against Kimberlee Peterson, I think she is a great budding actress, and I really enjoyed her in other roles, such as when she guest starred for several episodes as a homeless teen, in "Boston Public", and when she guest-starred on "Strong Medicine". But she was just not right for this role. For one thing, and I mean no offense by this, but she looks like a freak. Especially with her constant raised eyebrow expression (which is extremely annoying and distracting) and the way she would become so excited, nearly to the point of being giddy, while self-injuring, it just perpetuates the myth that those who mutilate themselves, are just "insane, psycho freaks", and it just reinforces the stigma and discrimination against them.

    Kimberlee Peterson is a good actress but totally wrong for this part. Better choices for this role would be Kellie Martin (of ER, Life Goes On, and TV movies), Jennie Garth or Tori Spelling (of Beverly Hills 90210), Jessica Biel (of 7th Heaven, and various movies) and Jessica Bowman (of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) Alternately, Katie Wright (of Melrose Place, and various made-for-TV movies), Ariana Richards, and SEVERAL others would likely have been good choices for this role. Even Crystal Buble (who played cruel bully Rebecca in this movie) would be a better casting choice for the part of Dawn Cottrell than Kimberlee Peterson.

    The casting of the other characters in this movie ranged from mediocre or average (Mr.& Mrs. Cottrell, the school personnel, etc.) to EXCELLENT (Lorraine, Alex)

    Though this is a good movie, the casting for a majority of the main characters was AWFUL, and it really took away from what could have otherwise been a great, informative, and important movie.
  • I am very familiar with the type of acivity that takes place in this film. It was exaggerated and poorly acted, and the wrtiers oviously did not know much about the subject. It made me angry just watching this film to see how ignorant and unresearched it was. 2/10.
  • alicespiral21 November 2008
    Something of a waste even making movies like this as its a subject which makes no sense to most I just saw it on one of the True Stories channels and even if its based on a number of these kind of things its hardly powerful drama. Why do people do this stuff? The mainly women who do it I would regard as unreal and the best thing that could happen to them would be having a religious conversion.Then they may realise that life is too precious to mess with like that What sort of problems justify this damn stupid behaviour? Its too baffling to even think about Real problems for many are things like blindness,living in poverty with not enough money. Even drug addiction and drunkenness can make more sense than self harming
  • I began self-injuring at the age of about 5 or 6 and still struggle with it today at age 34. (Although it is mostly under control, the urges are still there and cuts occur maybe once a year now.) For the most part I think the movie did a pretty good job-- but her reactions as she was cutting at times were unrealistic... almost euphoric or even orgasmic.... and the spreading the blood all over the hallway just doesn't happen. I always kept it as contained as possible and was able to keep it a secret for a long time. I did agree with the frantics going on as she was searching for a razor, anything sharp-- I've been there, rushed to the drawer only to find there isn't anything in there to use. You'll find anything you can to make into a tool that'll do the trick.

    I guess I don't know about others, but the night when she went to that guy's house and let him and all his friends have his way with her.... just also didn't fit. But maybe it did-- just maybe to emphasize the fact that she would inflict pain on herself anyway she could.

    Another scene that comes to mind-- in the car, with the cigarette lighter. When her parents found her out there doing that, she looked stoned and happy... again, to me was unrealistic. It did bring a great deal of relief when emotional pain was building up, but didn't bring a euphoria to me.... just made me stop my mind-racing and just calm down. But it got to the point where even crazy HAPPY feelings made me want to cut too. Really anytime I had strong emotions I would turn to that instead of trying to express anything.

    Anyhoooo.... overall a good movie, but as usual a few things seem to have been over-dramatized for effect.
  • scelestum5 September 2006
    This film shows the range of human emotions, the depths of depression the irrational urge to break free of the binds which hold us, and unlikely friendships.

    A great film, which deals with the issue of cutting in a way which is neither accusatory nor overly sympathetic. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The acting performances are real, the film shows a depth of reality rarely found nowadays, refreshingly clear, the film transports the viewer to a place of observation where the emotions of the events are transferred.

    I highly recommend anyone to watch this film, it is also helpful in gaining perspective of your place in the world and your life.
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