Grace in Control
A cast which includes Patty Duke, James Farentino, Dennis Farina and Margot Kidder is what appealed to me and what lead me to watch "One Woman's Courage". And after watching this mid 90s made for TV movie it is the cast which make it worth watching as the storyline whilst entertaining is nothing special. In fact the storyline is a bit of a mess because on one hand we have this crime, thriller but on the other we also have this story of a woman who suddenly not only faces being stalked but also dealing with life on her own.
On her way home from babysitting for her daughter Grace McKenna (Patty Duke - Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure) witnesses a man attacking a young woman and comes to her rescue, helping her escape and taking her to hospital. It makes her the prime witness but with her husband Craig (Dennis Farina) less than happy about her taking the stand Grace has a decision to make. But things go from bad to worse for her as not only does the man she identifies as the attacker get off and comes after her, Craig leaves as he doesn't take kindly to their personal businesses being aired in public. Now with a man after her and having to deal with life on her own she starts to get to grips with her life as well as the kind Lieutenant Lawson (James Farentino - Ride to Hangman's Tree) who takes special care of her.
So here is what I find genuinely curious about "One Woman's Courage"; it starts off as one thing with this story of Grace plucking up the courage to testify against the attacker but then it seems to change focus. That change is a focus on Grace having to tackle life mostly on her own after her husband leaves, that includes learning how to use the burglar alarm to how to use a gun. Now I suppose the title does cover both sides, courage to face crime and courage to start again but the movie looks like it is a standard crime thriller and the whole side where Grace takes control seems like a separate movie. And this side feels like it has been written with shall we say a feminist angle as both Grace's husband and son-in-law are portrayed as despicable, self centred slime balls and coming over as incredibly false because they are such slime balls.
So if you split "One Woman's Courage" up the whole crime thriller side is okay with some good set piece scenes which make it entertaining. A shower scene where Grace finds a threatening message written on a fogged up mirror is not bad and the scene in a church is actually quite entertaining despite being serious over the top. But then you have the side all about Grace taking control which to be frank whilst pleasant is also cheesy and less than surprising when Grace and Lieutenant Lawson end up getting close.
The thing is that the two sides of "One Woman's Courage" don't really work together but the cast keep you watching even though their characters are cliche. Patty Duke and James Farentino have this warmth which makes up for their cliche characters and whilst he's not the most scary psycho stalker Keith Szarabajka is entertaining in an over the top way. I suppose that sums the movie up as it is over the top and in truth cliche but it is strangely entertaining for being so.
What this all boils down to is that whilst watching "One Woman's Courage" you will probably groan a few times yet somehow you will probably end up being entertained by this mismatch of cliche stories.