Society's Child (2002) Jessica Steen, Kyley Statham, Sarah Gadon, Hugh Thompson, Margot Kidder, Melanie Nicholls-King, Kelsey Koenig, Andrew Grant Movie Review

Society's Child (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jessica Steen in Society's Child (2002)

Mother Knows Best!

Terry Best (Jessica Steen - On Hostile Ground) had her first child when she was only 14 and over the coming years has had many more, including Nikki (Kyley Statham) who was born a healthy little girl. But a while after her birth something happened and Nikki started to cry and cry until she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. With Nikki's father, father Sean (Hugh Thompson - Blessed Stranger: After Flight 111), having a volatile nature it makes life difficult as he tries to help as Terry's older children who struggle with his violent nature. Despite concerns from the social workers Terry does her best to care for her children, especially Nikki, with the help of Monique (Melanie Nicholls-King - False Pretenses) a professional carer.

"Society's Child" is one of those true story movies and as so often the case I know nothing of that true story and the people involved so have to say right away I don't know how true to life this movie is. But without that real life knowledge how "Society's Child" comes acrss is a drama of two halves with a first half which takes us into some familiar territory of the difficulties of having a disabled child. I say familiar as we see how stressful it is as Terry is devoted to giving Nikki the best life she can whilst we also have an element of volatile husband as Sean has anger problems which leads to further troubles especially with Terry's older sons. And it works as it allows us to feel compassion for the central characters.

Kyley Statham in Society's Child (2002)

Then there is the second half of "Society's Child" and this is where I need to mention some things which happen so if you don't know the story I suggest watching the movie. This second half switches to Nikki losing weight and Terry's choices in how she deals with this and its knock on effects. Now because the first half has been constructed in such a way to cause sympathy for both Nikki and Terry that it makes it one sided and again I am sure that was the intention, to tell the story from Nikki and Terry's perspective. A lot of this comes via a narration as we hear Nikki's thoughts and what she saw which certainly helps make this a sympathetic drama.

Whilst the choice in making "Society's Chid" a sympathetic drama might annoy some it is well acted for a made for TV movie. Jessica Steen does a good job of playing Terry as she gets across how desperate she is to keep Nikki with her and Steen's looks, her eyes make her appealing and easy to warm to. And then there is Kyley Statham as Nikki and whilst to my knowledge I have never encountered anyone with Rett Syndrome Statham's performance is captivating and effective.

What this all boils down to is that "Society's Child" is might not be an accurate retelling of the true story but it is an effective drama made in a style which will work for a certain type audience who enjoy touching made for TV dramas.