Strong performer Susan Dey sets the pace for the story of a drug-taking single woman who becomes pregnant and is determined to keep the baby. If the vidpic plays too much like a programmed tract with stock characters, Dey and director Rod Hardy still keep the meller a cut above the sentimental.
The script displays matters worth hearing, but the dominoes fall too obviously into place. Characters have little shading, and the story has few surprises. Everything’s lined up like a parable, with the heroine and her adversary eventually falling into one another’s arms for a smarmy finale.
“Lies and Lullabies”‘ tracks Christina’s way as she works to convince a social worker (Lorraine Toussaint) that she can care for drug-affected baby Lynne. The social worker, warning Christina she has to stay clean, sends Lynne to a foster home. Dey’s independent, unsympathetic Christina may not be Mother’s Day material, but the character, on marijuana and coke when the baby’s born two months early, sure shows maternal instincts even though she again succumbs to the drug lures of an office temptress (Kathleen York).
Several points are made on addiction with public service-type sequences. Christina’s blowzy mom (played beautifully by Piper Laurie) is a drunk, with the idea drop-kicked that Christina’s addiction could be inherited. Two kids in a classroom where Chistina’s studying child care hit her up for drugs; her sleazy boyfriend (D.W. Moffett), Lynne’s dad, vanishing but turning up after Christina is clean, urges her to return to drugs.
The prevalence of drugs in workplaces is spotlighted, but though AA’s discussed, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous aren’t mentioned or explored.
Dey is effective as the limited-but-determined Christina, and Allyce Beasley as her helpful co-worker shines. Toussaint in the stereotype role of the caseworker is on target.
David Connell’s camera work is imaginative without distracting, score by Johnny Harris is solid. Production designer Pam Warner uses appropriate locations, backgrounds for a TV movie that might have been up to its socks in poignancy but chooses to depict an addictive personality whose addiction turns fully to her child. That’s where “Lies” successfully scores.