Abuse of Another Sort
I watch a lot of made for TV movies, especially those based on true stories and whilst I think as a genre made for TV movies have a bad rep I will admit that many are extremely ordinary. But trust me if you watch "Just Ask My Children" you won't be saying ordinary or boring TV movie because this is a movie which will make you sick with anger especially as this is another true story movie. Yes it has some problems typical of the TV movie genre but the storyline is so incredibly powerful that it out weighs those minor issues.
Scott (Jeffrey Nordling - Blue Moon) & Brenda (Virginia Madsen - The Rainmaker) have a good marriage and love their sons, they would never do anything to harm them. So when the police swoop on their house one day and arrest them both whilst putting the children into care they are shocked especially as they are accused of not just abusing their boys but also their friend's daughters. With the DA and the police wanting some good publicity after having lost public faith press hard to get the results they want including making Scott & Brenda's children believe that they were abused by denying what they say is true.
I am not going to go into a lot of detail about what goes on in "Just Ask My Children" because there is a lot from why Scott & Brenda found themselves accused of abuse to their journey as the D.A. seeks to prosecute them. But I will highlight some things which make you feel sick to the bottom of your gut. When the children are taken for individual questioning by a welfare support officer the way she manipulates these small kids, refusing to believe what they say and tricking them into saying what they want makes you so angry. You also feel that same anger when in a holding cell Brenda is accused by two other prisoners of abusing children and gets beaten up. But none of that compares to the anger you feel when ever the DA is in a scene as he is hell bent on getting a result which makes him look good and protecting his won butt.
There is a lot more to "Just Ask My Children" than these scenes as this story spans several years and involves various other characters, prison and court cases much of which gives you an every increasing anger towards a system which is abuse in its own right. Writer Deborah Serra and director Arvin Brown have done a great job of bringing this story to the screen in such a way that certain typical TV movie issues never distract from the power of the story. But "Just Ask My Children" is aided by a good cast with Virginia Madsen and Jeffrey Nordling doing a fantastic job of playing Brenda and Scott making you feel for them right from the word go. Yet at the same time the likes of Robert Joy and John Billingsley deliver performances as such loathsome characters that they fill you with anger.
What this all boils down to is that "Just Ask My Children" is one of the best TV movies I have watched and is one of the most powerful stories of injustice you will ever see.