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David's Mother
David's Mother
Actors: Kirstie Alley, Sam Waterston, Stockard Channing, Michael A. Goorjian, Chris Sarandon
Director: Robert Allan Ackerman
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
NR     2004     1hr 30min


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Movie Details

Actors: Kirstie Alley, Sam Waterston, Stockard Channing, Michael A. Goorjian, Chris Sarandon
Director: Robert Allan Ackerman
Creators: Walt Lloyd, Bob Randall, Clara George, Fran Bell, Jennifer Alward, Julian Marks
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Family Films, Television
Studio: Trinity Home Ent
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 05/04/2004
Original Release Date: 04/10/1994
Theatrical Release Date: 04/10/1994
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Ten Stars
L. Mintah | USA | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My friend has a severely disabled son. Upon seeing David's Mother, she remarked, "This is my life!" She urged me to see the film. Now I am highly recommending it to anyone who has experience with or interest in autism or disabled children. Any parent or educator would benefit richly from this film as well.

David's Mother is about a single mother named Sally (Kirstie Alley) who takes care of her teenage autistic son, David (Michael Goorjan). Her husband has left her and her daughter is estranged because they felt Sally has cheated them by leaving them to fend for themselves emotionally and physically because she lives for her son. Sally's sister (Stockard Channing) has pulled Sally's teeth to go on a date with John (Sam Waterson). Despite Sally's best efforts to be as unpleasant as possible, John likes her. A determined social worker (Philicia Rashad) is warning David's mother that she can not try to fool the system any longer. Her son must be enrolled in a program for developmentally disabled children.

Kirstie Alley gives an amazing and heartfelt performance of a mother who believe she is the only one who can take care of David and understand him. Alley won an Emmy for her portrayal.

The acting is tremendous all around. I could not stop watching this film - I was completely mesmerized."
Excellent TV movie.
L. Mintah | 06/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

""David's Mother" is a superior TV movie in which Kirstie Alley stars as a dpressed single mother of a mentally challenged teenage son in Manhattan. Stockard Channing has a very good supporting role as Kirstie's sister, who tries to play matchmaker for Kirstie.
It's good to see a good-quality female-driven TV movie get released on DVD. I wish they'd release Kirstie's other terrific TV movies on DVD- like "Suddenly" in which she plays a waitress who gets hit by a bus, and "Family Sins", in which she teaches her foster kids how to shoplift. They also need to release Stockard Channing's extraordinary TV movie "The Matthew Sheppard Story" on DVD."
Mixed Feelings after viewing David's Mother
Bonnie Sayers | Los Angeles, CA | 10/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"David's Mother is portrayed by Kirstie Alley as Sally Goodson. The best actor in this movie is Michael Goorjian in the role of David Goodson. Stockard Channing is known as Bea, sister to Sally. It was never mentioned who was the eldest of the girls, but Bea took on a concerned role for her sister.

The movie started in the grocery store as Sally and David were shopping. A little girl was following them around gawking at David and his hand movements in the store. At one point Sally made a remark to the girl. Sally talked to David while in the store, although he seemed to be coming out of his skin and in deep distress during the trip.

My first reaction was why did he not have something in his hands to occupy himself and make the trip less intense. He appeared to be a teenager, and it was not known until the end that his age was sixteen. Through flashbacks we see David as young as five. I thought after so many years dealing with the disability some preparation was in order for community activities. A fidget toy or item could have helped David self regulate his behaviors, instead he was seen twisting his hands and moving about awkwardly.

David's Mother would have been better had they explored the family relationship from an earlier time instead of back and forth with then and now shots. Phylicia Rashad has a small role portraying a Social Services worker who is trying to raise two children after her husband left her. This is about the only thing these two women have in common. One brief funny moment was on the streets of New York.

They did not delve into this situation that brought Gladys to their house. It was briefly mentioned that Sally had to have David in either a special school or an institution, or the State would take him away. The way this was handled was insulting to special education children and those with special needs.

Over the years of caring for David Sally had hardened. First her husband left due to his feelings of neglect and jealousy over David, next her daughter Susan at sixteen headed for California to live with her father and his new wife. One of the flashbacks showed Phil and Susan coming home from a school play that Sally did not attend. A baby sitter had cancelled at the last minute and she had no one to care for David.

The writers of David's Mother really missed key chances to spotlight autism in a more conducive manner with the lacking of therapy and communication items. Sally was agitated with John teaching David how to insert a video and adamant that he cannot do anything. While they are arguing at various times she again flashbacks to similar arguments with Phil. It gets to the point where the viewer gets confused again with which scene we are watching.

There is definitely a pattern with all those who become involved with Sally. While she does appear to spend almost every waking moment with David, it does not seem to be in a very loving manner. The only time you see her hold his hand when they are walking is when someone else is around.

There are some real tear jerker moments in the movie. That could be more relevant for me as the parent to two kids on the autism spectrum. While it is never mentioned, David does have a form of autism.

One confusing aspect of David's Mother was how Bea would tell Sally about her daughter Susan, how she was getting married and also pregnant. The only contact the viewer sees of Susan and Sally is through flashbacks, yet Sally mentions to John she has phone conversations with Susan and was not invited to the wedding. There was no chemistry between John and Sally, they did not appear to be a suitable match. had issues with the role Phylicia Rashad was playing, this did not seem accurate and it was hard to tell what time period this was suppossed to be, even though it aired in 1994.

David's Mother really missed key issues like therapy, communication and involvement with teachers in the portrayal of David's autistic character. By not even mentioning the exact diagnosis made it seem like a bad word to even utter. I find these movies a learning experience as a parent to see what the media is using to portray those on the autism spectrum, as well as what the general public views and may interpret as the norm for families raising kids with autism.

The ending was surprising and difficult to watch.

Alley's Performance Makes "David's Mother" Worthwhile!
James Helberg | Detroit, MI United States | 08/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This film aired on CBS the same year as Bette Midler's "Gypsy" Miss M and Ms. Alley were both nominated for an EMMY in the Best Actress catagory. Kirstie Alley took home the award! In my heart I wanted Bette to win but, I can see why Kirstie won! Not just because this is the type of role that usually wins an actress an EMMY but, because Ms. Alley brings something fresh to to an already overused made for TV formula! A much put upon mother rises above her station in life and realizes what is best for herself and her family. In the hands of another actress the role of Sally Goodman (Kirstie Alley) would be 92 minutes of long faces and heavy sighs! Instead we see a full human being beyond even what the writer could have thought! The script (written by Bob Randall based on his play "David's Mother") is filled with emotion that is all carried by the mother and well, David (Michael Goorjian in his EMMY winning performance) who doesn't speak one word yet speaks volumes with his silence. However, many of David's scenes are destroyed by lingering close-ups which make us (the viewer) pitty and in most cases laugh at David. I think this could have been avoided if the director had chosen the cut from David's reactions sooner. The director David Allan Ackerman who so brilliantly directed "Me & My Shadows: Life With Judy Garland" seems out of his eliment here. The film is very heavy-handed! The supporting cast Sam Waterston as the to good to be true boyfriend, Stockard Channing as the concerned older sister, Chris Sarandon as the cowardly ex-husband and Phylcia Rashad as the do-gooder social worker serve no other purpose than to react to the main characters. These are excellent actors and they are given no moments of their own to shine. That's another problem with the script as well as the direction.
The DVD contains no special features other than Full screen, scene selection & digitally mastered.
Excellent picture quality for a low cost DVD
Overall, not a bad film, just flawed! No fault though of the very talented cast. The fault lies firmly in the hands of the film makers! The performance of Kirstie Alley make it worth the price of the DVD! It's worth a look!"