I hadn’t even heard of this movie until this past week, when I took a break from my work and came across this film on YouTube (and they say idle hands are the Devil’s playtoys, tisk tisk…).
Rebecca DeMornay, an underrated performer, stars in this TV movie, as Arlene, a woman who’s been released from a Georgia prison and tries to build a life. Her prison record keeps her from obtaining and keeping the kind of job she’d like to have. She has a talent for knitting and gets a job at a fabrics store, but when they learn of her conviction, she’s fired. This is, sadly, true to life. She’d given birth to a son, Joey, while incarcerated and would like to be reunited with him, but her emotionally abusive mother (The Exorcist’s Ellen Burstyn) had given him up for adoption, and she finds there’s no way around it. Fortunately, she’s able to accept that Joey’s found a nice home.
The movie reveals Arlene has been a victim of men. Her father raped her repeatedly when she was younger, while Mom did nothing about it. There’s also an abusive ex-boyfriend who slaps her around at one point. At no point is she considering going back with him, and there’s no romantic subplot, a rare departure for a film about a newly released prisoner. She’s just trying to find peace, way more important than romance.