Rosemary does more than tell T.J. She spills the beans to understanding friends, turns to welfare since she can’t work anymore and, unable to find the right substitute parents for T.J., goes public with their story. She tells the New York Daily News about her dilemma, appears on Jane Whitney’s talkfest; then she and T.J. begin fruitlessly trying to choose from the replies.
The story bears the seal of truth; nobody would buy it as fiction. T.J.’s therapist (Corey Parker) introduces them to his well-off parents, telling Rosemary that the two (Bruce Dern and Kate Nelligan, both right on target) would be interested in taking the boy.
But the magic world they enjoy in their beautiful beach house has an artificial tinkle to it, and their major decision to take on T.J. is sprung awfully fast.
The story of the lone mom trying to do what’s best for her only child is hardly new, but Rose, Hamilton and Elikann find nuances in Rosemary’s illness and character that turn the screw as tight, if not tighter than, the 1930s Ann Harding-Kay Francis-Ruth Chatterton self-sacrificers. And, because of the tone in which Rose has written the two main characters, there’s rightfully no teary, one-sided-farewell theatrics.
Secondary casting is a plus. S. Epatha Merkerson deals from strength as nurse Ruby, and RuPaul does a fine turn as Dede, Rosemary’s friend at a clinic. A blond Jenny O’Hara is choice as Rosemary’s dear friend Val, and Gail Strickland serves the telefilm too briefly as Rosemary’s therapist.
The engrossing production looks first-rate, with Eric Van Haren Noman’s camerawork outstanding, and Peter V. White’s editing superior. James Allen’s design for the vidpic is sharp, and Tom Scott furnishes a solid score for Rose’s poignant teleplay.