Her Desperate Choice (1996)

  • Year: 1996
  • Released: 06 Oct 1996
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: N/A
  • IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116518/
  • Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/her_desperate_choice
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Unrated
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 92 min
  • Writer: Vivienne Radkoff
  • Director: Michael M. Scott
  • Cast: Faith Ford, Kyle Secor, Hanna Hall
  • Keywords: massachusetts, support, custody battle, based on true story, helplessness, shelter,
70% – Critics
70% – Audience

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Her Desperate Choice Movie Reviews

Faith Ford in a surprising performance….

and Kyle Secor is also very effective in this film, as a veterinarian who stumbles upon Ford and her daughter, who have escaped an abusive husband/father.

This film falls into the category of useful/helpful and informative, for people who are unfamiliar with the court system. Ford is merely trying to save her daughter from physical abuse, but at that time, the husband would have ended up with visiting rights, hence ruining her daughter’s life. The FBI accused her of kidnapping, and while the story is based on truth, it does require suspension of reality for most of its duration.

That being said, Ford gives a good performance as a mother, trapped in the system, and we do see the fine lines which exist during custody battles; all is not black and white; if a mother is running away with her child, there is often a reason, and it usually ISN’T just to escape an unhappy marriage. Secor is underrated, and I wish we could see him in more film as well. 8/10.

What’s With That Ending!?

This is an often-good movie that could, and should, have been great. Yet they botch it at several key moments:

1. They waste several minutes of screen-time with a bitter argument between Jody and Samantha when the latter insists that they (or at least she) can’t spend an entire lifetime just running around and hiding. Jody simply hollers at her daughter until the girl finally (and miraculously) goes along with her. First of all, Jody makes the mistake of addressing her as “Samantha,” when that’s not supposed to be her daughter’s name anymore. (Did anyone else catch that?) Second of all, what’s the point of this sequence? It all begs for some kind of snappy comeback, like “What will you do if I DON’T keep being a fugitive with you? Call the police? Tell my father? Am I getting warm? Face it, Mom…you’re just one more kidnapper, no different than Dad is.” Unfortunately, no such luck.

2. The fact that Jody encounters so many people OUTSIDE the P.A.S.A.C. “Underground” Program who nonetheless sympathize with her plight enough to hide her (and Sam) from the cops (and Feds) is much too coincidental. We’re talking a restaurant owner, and even one of Sam’s teachers. And all this BEFORE they know Jody’s full story, or even if they DON’T learn her motives. It all seems to rationalize aiding and abetting a known fugitive; would YOU believe a grammar-school teacher covering for a known child-abductor!?

3. THEIR DEADLIEST MISTAKE: Jody and Jim are finally sniffed out by a classroom cop who wanted to fingerprint Sam, by that creepy PI working for Sam’s incestuous dad, and by a Fed posing as a prospective buyer for the Rossi house. Then Jody–who was previously slaughtered in court by her ex and his lawyers, and who has NEVER proved that Sam almost died of an STD from her dad–is found innocent after only 32 days! Moreover, neither Jim nor his father are even charged…even though they’re clearly guilty of being Accomplices to a Kidnapping, and of Obstructing State and Federal Justice, if not Resisting Arrest to boot. You’d think the Court would at least seize the opportunity to wring some names and numbers out of them, regarding Underground Program-members and other contacts of P.A.S.A.C. (Rumor has it, in real life, the FBI and most State Governments offer a cash reward for such information…a reward of up to $50 thousand per arrest.)

Worth it!

I was caught up as a mother. I definitely could see myself doing exactly what she did if the need arose. Only problem is this is based on a true story, however, as a native Idahoan, there is no such place as Fair Lake, Idaho. And after watching, I could not find anything regarding the real Jody Murdoch or James Rossi. So I’m a bit confused. Still, a great movie.