No Child of Mine” is a rarity in the based-on-fact TV drama genre: It is intelligently written and directed, and presents both sides of an issue instead of taking sides.
Story centers on a custody battle among parents Tammy and Bob Frazier (Tracy Nelson and Markus Flanagan), grandparents Lucille and Lamar Jenkins (Patty Duke and G.W. Bailey) and adoptive parents Peggy and George Young (Susan Blakely and Marshall Teague) over Tammy and Bob’s infant Jessy, born with Down’s syndrome.
Given their limited emotional and financial resources, the birth parents believe the child would be better off raised by the Youngs, who have devoted their lives to raising special-needs children. However, grandparents Lucille and Lamar try to stop the adoption, wanting to raise the child themselves.
Credit is due writers Selma Thompson and Robert L. Freedman and director Michael Katleman for making the Fraziers so sympathetic, and for showing that Lucille, though guided by love, is no angel.
Pic really only falters in two ways — the Youngs appear too good to be true (perhaps they actually are); and an appearance by all principals on an “Oprah”-style talkshow gives the movie a tabloidy feel that had been avoided to that point.
Mostly fine cast also deserves praise. Duke is superb, and Nelson deserves praise for her controlled performance. Pic looks good, and David Blangstead’s editing is superior.