REVIVING OPHELIA (Lifetime) Movie Review

Reviving Ophelia

REVIVING OPHELIA is an original Lifetime movie that premieres this Monday, October 11, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The movie centers around two sisters who have teenage daughters the same age, but who are very different. Marie’s daughter, Elizabeth, gets good grades, does not have any behavior issues and has the perfect boyfriend. Le Ann’s daughter, Kelli, on the other hand, is home alone often, gets into trouble and allows boys to use her however they can. Marie and her husband feel that they have the perfect family and encourage Elizabeth to help out Kelli, who is being raised by her single mother. Everyone soon comes to realize that it is really Elizabeth that needs help.

Reviving Ophelia is your classic story about a teenage girl falling victim to a goodlooking and charming abusive boyfriend and staying because she believes it is true love. The movie showed all of the recognized signs and cycles. I would not want to call them cliche because that would downplay the seriousness of abusive relationships, but they were expected. What I thought made this movie different than the other movies out there portraying teenage violence was the interplay and comparison of Elizabeth and Kelli and their lives. Everyone initially thinks it is Kelli who is troubled since she is acting out. However, as the movie goes on, it is evident that Kelli is not a bad kid. In fact, if not for her, Elizabeth would have endured more abuse. I enjoyed watching the girls evolve from what we were told and what we expected them to be from the beginning of the film.

The cast of Reviving Ophelia was mostly unknown, at least to me. Elizabeth’s mom, Marie, was played by Jane Kaczmarek, formerly of Malcom in the Middle. She is a wonderful actress and I think an excellent choice to play a mother who finds it incredulous that her daughter would lie to her, be abused, and then stay with the abuser. Marie’s character went through a lot throughout the movie trying to find the right position to take and the right words to say. Kelli’s mother, Le Ann, was played by Kim Dickens formerly of Friday Night Lights and four episodes of Lost as well as a host of other movies. She played the character of an exhausted overworked single mother trying to get through to her daughter well. Perhaps the most standout actor in the movie, however, was Carleigh Beverly who played Kelli. I thought her acting was brilliant and heartfelt. She had the standout performance in this film.

Overally, I thought Reviving Ophelia was a good movie. It was by no means a fresh take on an old subject, but it held its own rather well. I was disappointed that there were certain things that were never discussed or explained such as the issues with Mark’s ex-girlfriend. It also would have been nice if there had been a little bit more of a history of Elizabeth and Mark’s relationship shown before diving into its downfall. Finally, I would have liked a bit more reference to the film’s title. The only references we get are from Kelli’s English teacher. While his comments mesh well with what is happening at the time, I really do not feel like there was a “reviving” of anything in this movie. A little more explanation or linking to the film’s title would have gone a long way.

Watch Reviving Ophelia this Monday, October 11, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. on Lifetime and then come back here and tell me what you thought in the comments below.

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