The premise of this unsavory made-for-TV sudser is so sexist and preposterous that the mind reels: A virginal young woman is raped and unwittingly marries her repentant attacker! Maybe Pedro Almodovar could get away with this psycho-sexual melodrama, but, as morosely executed here, the
movie's central dramatic peg is merely and clearly offensive.
Taking a short-cut home from work, high-schooler Billie Simms (Cynthia Gibb) is raped. Not only does the incident cause an unwanted pregnancy that damages her college expectations, but it also outrages her smugly religious father Cal Simms (Ralph Waite), who unsuccessfully pressures her to give up
the baby. Sir Galahad arrives in the person of upper-middle-class Jim McDaniel (Richard Grieco), who falls for and marries blue-collar Billie, much to the chagrin of his snooty mother (Concetta Tomei).
Strains on the marriage quickly surface: ne'er-do-well Jim can't hold a job, and Billie becomes pregnant a second time. Oldest daughter Katie is diagnosed with progressive kidney deterioration. By the time Billie bears a third sickly child, critically ill Katie needs an organ donor. Jim refuses to
take a compatibility test, even though he is not supposed to be a blood relative to the girl. When he relents, and proves a perfect tissue match, Billie realizes the truth: it was Jim who raped her, later marrying her out of guilt. Billie is grateful to Jim for donating his kidney to save Katie's
life. Independent at last, Billie realizes her dream of a writing career. Although she doesn't deny Jim his parental rights, she divorces him and returns to pursue her education.
Every opportunity for legitimate emotional development is undercut by the luridness of SIN AND REDEMPTION's low-down high concept. Within its tasteless perimeters, this sex opera pays lip service to important considerations like the smothering effects of early marriage and religious hypocrisy
about unwed mothers. The leading players tackle their roles superficially, barely hinting at the lack of self-esteem that ruins Billie and Jim's lives. The sleazy treatment of such a serious subject makes the film even more of a distasteful viewing experience. Although this film is dressed up as a
made-for-TV issues movie, it has more in common with old exploitation flicks like CHILD BRIDE (1937) and MARRIED TOO YOUNG (1961), which blanket their prurient interest with twaddle about social significance for the audience. (Violence, sexual situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: The premise of this unsavory made-for-TV sudser is so sexist and preposterous that the mind reels: A virginal young woman is raped and unwittingly marries her repentant attacker! Maybe Pedro Almodovar could get away with this psycho-sexual melodrama, but,… (more)