Cast the First Stone (1989) starring Jill Eikenberry, Richard Masur, Elizabeth Ruscio, Joe Spano, Lew Ayres, Charles Kimbrough directed by John Korty Movie Review

Cast the First Stone (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jill Eikenberry in Cast the First Stone (1989)

Immoral Violation

Having visited her friends at a Convent where she once trained to be a nun, single school teacher Diane Martin (Jill Eikenberry - My Boyfriend's Back) offers a hitch hiker a ride. When Diane stops at a motel as the rain gets to heavy to drive in she takes pity on the hitch hiker as he waits in the rain and allows him to sleep on her floor but he takes advantage of her kindness and rapes her. To ashamed to mention it to anyone Diane tries to continue as normal but discovers she is pregnant and has to weigh up what to do; as a catholic having an abortion is out of the question and she decides that raising the child will be easier than putting it up for adoption. But that leads the school and parents to try and have her removed on grounds of immoral behaviour.

"Cast the First Stone" is another one of these made for TV true story movies which take the basics of a true story and then dramatizes it. What this means is that whilst this movie features a story about rape the real focus is on Diane having to deal with the board and parents going out of their way to try and force her out of her job. It makes "Cast the First Stone" a solid and engrossing story which does well to make you feel for Diane as she is victimized, especially from parents who think she is too strict on the children.

Richard Masur in Cast the First Stone (1989)

The thing is that whilst "Cast the First Stone" is a solid and engrossing movie it has one problem and that is an element of connect. What I mean is that whilst we watch as Diane is victimized, from the school board who set about trumping up charges through to the parents who only care that their kids grades are good not that their children are learning it keeps you at arms length. It is sort of cold, almost procedural at times and whilst that is good in some senses as it doesn't make it feel manufactured it does mean that the big power scenes, be it the rape or the court case following her dismissal never really feel anymore dramatic than the rest of the movie.

It's a shame that "Cast the First Stone" ends up being so one level because it features an array of good performances. Jill Eikenberry is solid through out as Diane be it as the victim of the school or as a rape victim who is on edge around men. And Richard Masur has good personality as her lawyer Refson delivering both warmth and confidence which is exactly what the character required.

What this all boils down to is that "Cast the First Stone" is a solid TV movie which works because of the natural power of the story and performances. But it is only solid and never feels like it is playing out at more than one level.