Well acted and directed story based on a woman’s true experiences with breast cancer and a worthless male tries mixing the two ingredients. Meredith Baxter has another tour de force on her hands, but her two problems blunt the vidpic’s value.
People Mag writer Joyce Wadler (Baxter), semi-living with broke sportswriting-philandering Nick (Jamey Sheridan), discovers she’s got a lump in her left breast. After tests, diagnosis and samples of Nick’s indifference, Joyce has to face what kind of breast operation she’ll have.
A couple of loyal friends see her through the ordeal, while Nick barely lifts his head. Her mother (Barbara Barrie) comes to New York to check on her, and an ex-b.f. joins her support group. Everyone’s on hand except Nick, as the telepic repeatedly underlines.
Wadler, writer of both the book and the teleplay on which the vidpic’s based and who lived through the ordeal (fictionalized here and there, of course), shows again and again how obsessed Joyce the character is with insensitive, self-centered Nick. As she explains to a friend, she’s been without a man in her life for four years, so any port looks balmy in such a storm.
Baxter and Sheridan play off each other so winningly it’s almost a sale. Sheridan, the evil one in last week’s “The Stand” and veteran of NBC’s “Shannon’s Deal” series, commands attention; Sara Botsworth as Joyce’s frank friend Eve gets in a few pithy references to Nick.
James Sutorius limns Joyce’s kind-but-bland pal Herb, and R.H. Thomson credibly plays Joyce’s first specialist. Probably worth mentioning is that Baxter clinically bares her breast for the telefilm, but it’s all in the interest of throwing limited light on medical inroads.
Tech credits are strong, and helmer Betty Thomas knows how to pick her way through the semi-treatise. Unfortunately it isn’t Wadler’s courage that comes across as much as her denseness over inconsiderate Nick. In that case, cancer cures her, but a good course in self-worth might be in order.