Shattering the Silence (1993)

Joanna Kerns in Shattering the Silence (1993) (aka: Not in My Family)

Daddy's Little Girl

Following the birth of her first daughter, Veronica Ricci (Joanna Kerns - Emma's Wish) appears to be struggling from having nightmares to moments of vacancy. Her husband Ted (Michael Brandon - The Detonator) believes it is a case of the baby blues but Veronica believes it is something else especially when her nightmares only began when her father Malcolm (George Grizzard) showed up with a stuffed toy horse for their child. It leads her to visit her estranged sister Becky (Shelley Hack - A Casualty of War) who opens up about something from her childhood which explains the connection between the horse and the nightmares. But unsure of what to do Veronica puts her marriage on the line by keeping what she knows secret from Ted.

"Shattering the Silence" is another one of those true story movies from the 1990's which like so many made for TV movies features a woman as the focus. That isn't a criticism as this was the norm but I do have a criticism as from what I know "Shattering the Silence" is more inspired by a true story rather than a dramatization using the concept of repressed memory to build a drama around it. That repressed memory is to do with a father who abused a child and many years later a woman recalling memories of seeing it happen and in doing so shattering the world she lives in.

George Grizzard in Shattering the Silence (1993) (aka: Not in My Family)

Now on one level that set up makes for a fascinating drama, a little convoluted as we have Veronica who having just given birth to a child having these repressed memories and others thinking she is suffering from depression but still a fascinating one. Watching how this whole thing unfolds from the stuffed toy being an emotional trigger to the realisation that her niece maybe being abused as well all combine to create a sense of disgust. It is not very subtle in doing this, Malcolm's continually mentioning to Veronica that she is still his little girl is as subtle as a brick but it does paint this uncomfortable picture of paternal abuse and repressed memories.

The trouble is that what it does with this is not that good, it gets more and more far fetched and almost seems to recoil from being explosive. Basically it feels like it is afraid to really deliver the drama and horror of the story which is a shame as with it playing it safe makes the convoluted, far fetched side a bit cheesy.

Despite that "Shattering the Silence" still remains watchable because Joanna Kerns turns in a captivating performance, maybe not the most believable but still a captivating one. More believable is Michael Brandon as her husband Ted whose response to Veronica and how she changes and what she says may seem typical but it is far more realistic. And then there is George Grizzard as Malcolm who comes across on one hand as the epitome of loving father and grandfather but then does something less than subtle when he shows affection.

What this all boils down to is that "Shattering the Silence" is a fascinating drama with a good storyline but unfortunately it ends up not only feeling convoluted but like it is playing it too safe.