A Father's Dilemma
Martin Parish (Brady Smith) is a hard working widowed father, running a contracting business whilst also raising his teenage daughter Natalie (Sadie Calvano). With Natalie really needing to win a scholarship to go to college Martin is happy when Natalie wins an election for student council treasurer as it will help. But it leads to Natalie becoming more popular at school, especially with sport's jock Sam Cahill (Reiley McClendon) taking an interest in her. That not only leads to complications as Sam is the son of Bruce (Parker Stevenson) an old friend of Martin's but it makes Martin fear that Natalie will follow in her mother's footsteps having been a party girl who ended up having an affair.
"The Perfect Daughter" is one of those made for TV movies which you will find with a few titles such as "A Father's Denial" and "The Carpenter's Daughter". But in truth I reckon the best title would have been "A Father's Dilemma" as the focus is all about how Martin Parish deals with a chain of events as his teenage daughter, who had always been his good girl, suddenly becoming a kind of typical teenager who gets drunk and has sex.
Now that doesn't sound that special but it all starts with Martin rushing his daughter to hospital after picking her up drunk from a party only to discover whilst at the hospital that she lost her virginity at the party. It is a well worked scene because of Brady Smith doing a fantastic job of emoting the pent up feelings of a father having to deal with learning that his daughter has become sexually active whilst also feeling protective towards her, wanting to blame someone else.
The above though leads to a whole host of issues as not only does the dynamic between father and daughter change with Natalie becoming more moody but things become awkward between Martin and Bruce, the friend who has actually helped Martin win various contracts. And on top of that Martin works with his brother-in-law Nick who is a bit wild like his wife was making Martin worry that Natalie will take after that side of the family.
It makes "The Perfect Daughter" a different sort of TV movie and one which is surprisingly engaging. Much of that comes down to Brady Smith who does this good job of playing Martin as he struggles with accepting his daughter has grown up and no one is to blame for her losing her virginity. You can feel his pain and the confusing mess of emotions going through his head.
What this all boils down to is that "The Perfect Daughter" is a different sort of TV movie and one which ends up surprisingly engrossing as we observe a father's dilemma with Brady Smith really excelling in the conflicted father role.