Whilst a series of rapes trouble the police in the Spokane area the Coe family have other issues to contend with. For Kevin Coe (Dale Midkiff) there is his mother Ruth (Elizabeth Montgomery), a prominent socialite who he absolutely adores and takes her to his realtor business events. And Ruth also adores Kevin but she has a split personality because every time she mollycoddles him she also humiliates him which has lead to Kevin also having a split personality and living a double life. This becomes apparent to Kevin's latest girlfriend when she realises how controlling Ruth is and how different Kevin is around her. The question is what else is Kevin hiding from everyone?
I reckon that back in the 80s and early 90s the actresses who would appear in made for TV dramas were given one instruction, think Joan Crawford. It is what I think happened in "Sins of the Mother" because it features Elizabeth Montgomery delivering one of those over the top performances which wouldn't have looked out of place 50 years earlier with over the top stares and mannerisms which make it in modern terms all a bit too soap-operaish. Maybe fans of Montgomery will enjoy her performance of a twisted mother who praises and reprimands her grown son in equal measure but for me it was too full on.
Now I started off talking about Elizabeth Montgomery because her performance is the most memorable aspect of "Sins of the Mother" because at times it is larger than the movie itself. As for the rest of the performances well Dale Midkiff tries to give us split personality making Kevin child like at times in his attitude but abrupt at others but it all seems incredibly forced. And sadly the rest of the performances tend to fade in to the background.
As for the storyline, well we are in true story territory so for some there will be the aspect of knowing everything before watching but for those who are unaware of the details of the case, well it doesn't create much mystery. Within the first 10 minutes we learn so much from the closeness Kevin has with his mum to her split personality and then the obviousness of the whole rape side makes it clear that Kevin is involved. It makes "Sins of the Mother" a movie which really doesn't command your attention because it doesn't have the mystery to demand that of you.
What this all boils down to is that "Sins of the Mother" is in many ways a typical made for TV drama from the early 90s with a familiar style and a true story as its basis. But sadly it is a movie which ends up more about the performance of Elizabeth Montgomery than the actual story.