x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Despite a rushed and simplified resolution, mediocre make-up and inconsistent accents, a surprisingly solid and emotionally effective made-for-TV film.


On a snowy night in the early 1960s, Nora Henry (Gretchen Mol) goes into labour and is whisked to a nearby clinic by her husband, Dr David Henry (Dermot Mulroney). The doctor who is supposed to deliver the baby slides off a country road on his way to the clinic and Henry finds himself assisting a nurse, Caroline Gill (Emily Watson), in delivering a boy. Minutes later, a twin emerges, a girl, whose face displays the signs of Down's syndrome. Henry orders Gill to take the girl to a home for the mentally disabled and tells his wife that their daughter died. Upon arriving at the home and witnessing the circumstances in which the patients live, the nurse decides to keep the baby, raising her through a childhood and adolescence that bring great joy to all involved - the exact opposite of what transpires in the affluent Henry family. Despite a rushed and simplified resolution, mediocre make-up and inconsistent accents, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a surprisingly solid and emotionally effective made-for-TV film. Made for the Lifetime cable channel in the US, it admirably moderates its emotional manipulation and, once the horror of the original incident is accepted, remains credible. Though the film probably would lose its appeal in the cinema, it works well on the small screen and makes for a satisfying 88 minutes in the living room.
jsipe@thenational.ae