This 1990 made-for-television film is an adaptation of Danielle Steele's novel about three sisters reunited years after tragedy tore them apart. Bland and predictable, KALEIDOSCOPE is nothing more substantial than another notch in the TV-movie belt of former "Charlie's Angel" Jaclyn Smith.
Entertainment attorney Arthur Patterson (Donald Moffat) hires private investigator John Chapman (Perry King) to locate three sisters, separated after their parents' deaths. Chapman easily locates the eldest, Hilary Walker (Smith), a high-profile TV network executive. She wants nothing to do with
Patterson and asks Chapman to drop the search. Chapman persists and locates the two younger girls, Alexandra (Patricia Kalember), a politician's wife, and Meagan (Claudia Christian), a doctor, both of whom are more receptive to a reunion. Chapman doggedly pursues Hilary for his own reasons as well
as Patterson's. He eventually succeeds in bedding her and persuading her to attend the reunion. The tearful gathering is disrupted by Hilary's verbal attack on Arthur. She blames him for the loss of her parents, and for her own troubled adolescence.
Through a series of flashbacks, the source of Hilary's pain is revealed. She was 11 when she witnessed her father (Bruce Abbott) kill her mother (Kim Thomson) in a jealous rage, after learning that Patterson fathered their youngest child. (Filled with remorse, Dad later killed himself.) As her
parents' executor and closest friend, Patterson found good homes for the two younger girls but was unable to place Hilary. She was sent to live with an abusive aunt and uncle, then ran away at age 14. Patterson's motive in reuniting the girls is made clear when he reveals that he is dying, and
wants to atone for past mistakes. He is nursed during his final days by his newfound daughter, Meagan. Patterson's funeral brings about another reunion between the sisters, including Hilary, who has finally decided to forgive and move forward with her life.
From an intriguing premise, KALEIDOSCOPE spirals downward into the relatively prosaic sex and scandal expected from a Danielle Steele dramatization. Smith is grating in a one-note performance as the perpetually-pained eldest sibling. She's easily surpassed by young Erika Flores, playing the same
role in the flashback scenes. King is likeable in a light characterization; Kalember and Christian imbue their characters with genuine warmth; and Colleen Dewhurst dominates the screen in a brief but commanding role. Moffat and his younger counterpart, Ben Lemon, play the same role with remarkable
consistency. Aided by slick production values, KALEIDOSCOPE has a pretty, polished look. Unfortunately, there's little substance under the sheen. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: This 1990 made-for-television film is an adaptation of Danielle Steele's novel about three sisters reunited years after tragedy tore them apart. Bland and predictable, KALEIDOSCOPE is nothing more substantial than another notch in the TV-movie belt of form… (more)