THE PASTOR’S WIFE (Lifetime) Advance Review


Lifetime premieres its lastest based-on-a-true-story movie, THE PASTOR’S WIFE, tonight. The Pastor’s Wife stars Rose McGowan as Mary Winkler, wife of the much beloved small town pastor, Matthew Winkler (Michael Shanks). Early one morning, Matthew is found shot dead in their home.

The Pastor’s Wife is based on the true story of the Winklers and Matthew’s shooting in 2006. Upon the finding of Matthew Winkler’s body, a major manhunt began searching for Mary and her three daughters, all believed to have been kidnapped or harmed themselves. When the police stumble upon Mary driving down the street, they soon realize there is more to the mystery of Matthew’s death than they ever realized.

The Pastor’s Wife started off strong. I immediately noticed and fell in love with the score. It was a mix of blues and gospel and took recognizable songs and changed them up. For example, there is an Amazing Grace sung to the tune of House of the Rising Sun, at least to my nonprofessional ears. It is not often that the musical score is something I even notice, but I did here and it had a positive impact on the movie.

Aside from the score, the movie immediately drew you in with the first scene showing a crime scene, but then reverting back to the happy Winkler family. All the while, the viewer waits to see what is really going on behind closed doors. The answers do not come though, until the trial, and it is at that point that the movie starts to slow down. The reveals provided by Mary Winkler are slow and anticlimatic for the amount of time it takes to get you there.

Rose McGowan portrays Mary Winkler quite well. Although her southern accent is a bit misplaced, it is not too distracting. She does portrays the reserved wife with the required emotional outbursts in the right places. Michael Shanks shines as the Pastor who is charming to the outside world, but a monster in his own home.

The Pastor’s Wife is worth a viewing. Actually, one of the best scenes to me was the very last one. It made me question some things from the rest of the movie. So tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET and watch The Pastor’s Wife on Lifetime then come back here and tell me what you thought. I want to discuss that last scene!

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  • Debbiejo_souchereau

    Who sang amazing grace in the movie? It was awesome

    • Anonymous

      I am not sure, but wasn’t it beautiful?

  • Pat

    I thought the last scene was fitting. Finally she came out of shell and became the woman she should have been all along.

    • Anonymous

      That was another way to look at it too and it may be the correct one.  I might just be cynical and reading things that were not there. 

  • ptjackson

    I really enjoyed this movie. I do happen to be a huge fan of Michael Shanks, and as his loyal fans know, he frequently ends up dead in movies and TV programs, but he is such a good actor.

    I also felt that Rose did a very good job as the meek wife. I found the story to be very compelling, even if it was just “based on a true story.” Domestic abuse does exist, and the sad consequences are all too real.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with everything you said!

  • parker

    After watching the movie, I beleived her.  However, the last scene—I then felt as though she may have made the story up about the abuse????

    • Anonymous

      I also thought the ending was a bit ambiguous, although I am not sure if it was set up that way purposely.

  • Peter

    I never wish that upon anybody. No one should live their life in fear. There are people that are all happy smiles when others are around. And monsters when those people arent around anymore. Manipulators at their best. She just wanted to escape that lifestyle. Shes the victim here, not the abusing husband. 

    I felt the last scene was her way of dealing with people whom she thought would make a joke of the situation. It was eerie and evil, as intended for the movie.

    • Anonymous

      Peter – I also considered it was a way to get people off her back and out of her business. You are right about victims of abuse. It is very sad and I wish it did not happen at all.

  • Alear

    I think THE BLIND BOYS sang Amazing Grace/House of the rising Sun…it was awesome

    • Anonymous

      Alear – thanks for the heads up. I am going to see if I can download it on iTunes!

      • Hardrockhoney

        What is the song in the movie with lyrics something like “even though you’re heart is breaking….doesn’t mean you need him?”


        • Erica

          Fallin’ by Laura Doyle

    • Jammilljam

      Do u happen to know the song that was played when she was playing out his fantasy. It was a woman and something just doing what she has to do. It was a beautiful song. They played it twice. Much appreciated.

      • Erica

        Same as above 🙂

  • from Tennessee

    Couldn’t get over the soooooooooooo fake accents.  If you are going to make a movie about the south at least hire actors who sound authentic.  So many other things were no where near realistic.  Nothing about the town was real.  What kind of editors do you have? Obviously, no one who passed U.S. History.  I’m talking about the state of Tennessee on the police car.  It was backward!! 

    • Wmilam

      I’m 72 years old and I think this may be worst movie I have ever seen.  I attended every moment of Mary Winkler’s trial, reporting for a collection of newspapers.  Before we look at the crucifixion of Matthew Winkler in the film, just notice the errors such as having a piano playing in a Church of Christ service and referring  to a Church of Christ minister as “Pastor.  The Southern accents were abominations in the sight of Dixie.  The screenwriters clearly never read the transcript of the trial or Mary Winkler’s verbatim statements to TBI and ABI  officers while she was under arrest.  All evidencei in the case indicates that it was Mary not her husband who fell into the Nigerian payoff scheme, and that he was to learn about what she had done in the bank meeting that was pending when Matthew was killed.  Incidentally, there is no factual basis, even in Mary’s revised accounts, of Matthew ever pointed a gun at her, or threatening her with it.  The most astonishing aspect of this case,  in the courtroom and on the movie screen is the apearance of  the “slut garb” (blonde wig and stiletto heels) in the trial.  To this day, no one knows where  they came  from.  THEY WERE NEVER ENTERED INTO EVIDENCE.  As the afternoon session began,Mary’s attorney Steve Farese (30 years younger than in real life)  reached under the witness chair where Mary sat,  handled  a brown bag  and asked her to open it.  (ALL THIS IS PLAINLY VISIBLE ON THE TRIAL VIDEO.)  The bag contains a blonde wig and 1 6-8 inch glass or plastic shoe.  There is no second shoe, boustier, etc.
      FARESE ASSIGNS NO EXHIBIT NUMBER TO THESE ITEMS.  (In the movie, the items are called”Defnse Exhibits F and G,” but are not radmitted by the judge or shown to the Prosecu tion.
      No one knows where “slut garb” came from.  Mary said Matthew made her wear it during sex, but no such garb is listed as the fruits of any searches.  I talled to the searchers who did 2 searches, but none of them recognized any such items.  Mary was not asked about where she or Matthew kept the items, what became of the boustier, why only one shoe of the pair, etc.  They appeared, played their crucial role, and disappeared.  The prosecutors did not ask one question about the “slut garb.”
        My wife and I examined the evidence in the case later at the McNairy County courthouse, and my wife actually tried on the wig.   She did NOT allow me to take photos.
        These items, not introuced properly, made national news and had a great effect on the ladies of the courtroom.
        I could write about this forever, but I have gone too long already.  Mary Winkler got away with murder in Selmer. 

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for the perspective from someone that knows more details and actually sat through the trial. As someone with knowledge about courts and trials, I often find too many inaccuracies in the way things are done for pure dramatic effect even in supposedly “true” stories.  I figured there was more to the story than the Lifetime movie. There usually is. Again, thanks for sharing your information!

    • Anonymous

      I feel for you.  These days I do not even pay attention to these things, especially when it is in my home state because I end up as frustrated as you!

  • from Tennessee

    Couldn’t get over the soooooooooooo fake accents.  If you are going to make a movie about the south at least hire actors who sound authentic.  So many other things were no where near realistic.  Nothing about the town was real.  What kind of editors do you have? Obviously, no one who passed U.S. History.  I’m talking about the state of Tennessee on the police car.  It was backward!! 

  • kathleen

    i to am from mcnairy county/selmer, tn.- there was people in the church, who had seen makeup covered black eye on mary- people don’t want to get involved! there was a state trooper who had lived by the winklers in a prior town, who said he had witnessed matthew’s temper and outrage over nothing,- domestic abuse is a terrible thing, and there is alot more  of it than people want to admit, a really abusive husband is like most sex offenders, not suspected by most, and many times unreported due to fear, i am glad the legal system ruled as it did, if they did this more often, it would reduce some of this violence, the abuser would know they had something to fear. mary winkler should have been given a medal on behalf of the many many abused women who have been thru the same treatment.

    • Wmilam

      According to testimony in court, the black eye was the result of a foul ball in a softball game.  there were witnesses to this–and it happened before  the Winklers came to Selmer.  I believe Matthew was emotionally abusive, that he felt he and his family were better than Mary, but I do not think there was physical abuse.  Oral sex?  probably.  Anal sex?  no way to know.  The “slut toys”? never removed with other evidence from the Winkler house; illegally introduced into court, probably bought by Leslie Ballin at adult shop on Winchester in Memphis.  Bottom line: Selmer hoodwinked by city shyster lawyers. 
        Mary Winkler knew she was a second class member in her own home.  Her playing in the Nigerian e-mail scheme had failed and the next morning Matthew would discover this.  He already thought she was an airhead, after he learned of the scheme, he would never let her live it down.
        The TV movie featured these “items” which are distortions of the real life sworn testimony:  the movie indicates that trying to earn money by the Nigerian scheme was Matthew’s idea; in real lifde, several bank employees testified and mentioned only Mary; the movie shows  Mattthew sticking a shotgun under Mary’s chin; neither Mary nor anyone else ever said this.
        I suggest you get the transcripts and  the audiotapes of Mary’s interrogation sessions in Alabama.  She told the complete truth under oath–before Farese smf Ballin ever got to her.
        I know you have strong feelings about abuse by husbands.  Mary was mistreated, in my opinion, but the murder was completely unjustified, and she got away with it because the jurors felt sorry for her.
        One of the most amazing things in this television diaster was  the final scene in which, after being portrayed as a victim who is innocent and unworldly, says to the  truck driver that she is the woman who killed her husband and asked  him( symbolic  male, leering, bearded, ball cap), “Would you like to be next?”   Amazzing but it was on the Lifetime Network (Commonly known as the PMS Network.)
         When you have some facts and not just innuendos from church members who wouldn’t get involved, write to me again.

  • Carlosduarte3

    whats the name of the first song of this movie?? is a classic!

  • Judylynd

    i think  The BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA

  • Gloriaetta Hamilton

    I couldn’t understand what the actress, Rose McGowan was saying in one scene. Did she say her husband made her have sex with a “pump?” I couldn’t understand her.

  • Bblz2259

    Who sings ‘went to the river and pray’ I LOVE the voices