Living in Fear
Jane Hurshman (Nancy Beatty) had spotted Billy Stafford (Stephen McHattie) watching her for a few weeks when ever she went the club with her friends and eventually decides if he isn't going to make a move she will. One thing leads to another and Jane, Billy as well as her son all end up living together as one happy family. But the happiness is short lived as Billy's violent side comes out with both her and her son being victims of his abuse. It leads to Jane taking matters in to her own hands and ending up being questioned by the police.
The opening scene of "Life with Billy" sees Jane place a rifle against a sleeping man's head and as she pulls the trigger we see brain splatter against the window of the truck. What we get after that is a mix of flashback as we get to see what Jane's life with Billy was like and the police investigation which followed as Jane also had to deal with the resentment others had who were friends with Billy. That is simply it and so the only real mystery you get in "Life with Billy" is how it will end up as Jane ends up confessing to the murder because he was a maniac.
Now truth be told I have watched a fair few made for TV movies about domestic abuse and this one doesn't really stand out from the crowd as being any better than those others although the way this plays out is a bit different. But what I will say is that Stephen McHattie does a really good job of making Billy a real son of a bitch who is mean, sadistic and an A-hole to anyone who annoys him be it Jane or one of his friends. As such what you do get in "Life with Billy" is this set up where everyone in town knows what Billy was like, even the police knew he was trouble and would lay in to Jane.
What this all boils down to is that "Life with Billy" is powerful as it features an incredibly strong performance from Stephen McHattie in what must have been a tough role. It also features an equally decent performance from Nancy Beatty as a woman living in fear. But whilst it is worth remembering it is based on a true story there are other movies about domestic abuse which end up more powerful than this.