Review by Tom Swift
A big hearted fashion designer almost loses her family firm – when her husband hatches a plot to convince her she has dementia.
This kind of film has been known as a “Gaslight” ever since Charles Boyer tried to convince Ingrid Bergman that she was insane — so that he could steal her fortune. Well, no one was ever going to match those two acting-wise, but Alicia Leigh Willis and Rick Ravenello give more than credible performances here – that almost overcome a script that needed about three more drafts. This is basically a TV movie made for international distribution which could have easily been much better.
This film changes from disease of the week to poorly plotted thriller about half way through. For the first half, you’re thinking this will be a sensitive but perhaps too closely observed drama about early onset Alzheimers. You’ll find yourself actually caring about Alicia and her supposedly loving husband and secretary.
Alicia’s mom died of Alzheimer’s and it’s easy to think Alicia might have it as well. She keeps forgetting things, but she’s clear as a bell otherwise. Then after a devastating (but fraudulent) positive diagnoses with a nifty hallucination scene, all that goes out the window.
In the blink of an eye, her husband pays off the sleaze ball who was part of what we thought was the hallucination. There’s no real preparation for this reveal, and you feel as if that friend who’s been complaining about his back to get out of work — just let it slip that he’s been skiing for a week in Aspen. You feel like you’ve been taken advantage of. Audiences deserve respect. You should be able to look back and see the clues you missed. Nope. Here you’ve just been blatantly misled.
From then on, Alicia just sort of stumbles onto clues. Her character deserves respect too. Then we’re into a moral moment about cold hearted capitalism vs. nurturing family businesses. That and the supposed fact that Asians are ruining the designer fashion boutique business. Really?
By the time you get to the cheesy end, you will have forgotten, however, the sensitive first half. It wasn’t really a gas, but it did allow you to feel a few moments of genuine comapassion.
On Digital HD and On Demand August 1st