×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story

An ugly, gross tale of wife abuse and murder, toplining Jaclyn Smith, arguably represents the nadir of the domestic-violence genre.

With:
Cast: Jaclyn Smith, Brad Johnson, Hilary Swank, David Lascher, Carolyn McCormick, Andrew Lawrence, Ramsey Midwood, Jason Kristofer, David Gianopoulos, David Byron, Lisa Robin Kelly, Gary Hudson, Rosanna Huffman, David Cromwell, Tom Nibley, Malissa Feruzzi, Nomi Mitty, Aixa Clemente, Ron Frazier, Richard Ryder, Warren Munson, Stuart Nisbet.

An ugly, gross tale of wife abuse and murder, toplining Jaclyn Smith, arguably represents the nadir of the domestic-violence genre.

Battered women who harbor desires to kill their husbands will naturally be glued to their sets. So might unredeemable husbands pondering the wages of spousal brutality. But for all its social relevance to a strata of family dysfunction, this story of small-town, true-life Colorado couple is a wretched experience, despairingly told.

After years of unrelenting fear for her life, a pummeled, beleaguered wife (Smith) hires two local thugs to murder her savage, intimidating, steroid-addicted policeman husband (Brad Johnson).

Christopher Canaan’s script is aptly framed through a series of flashbacks as Smith, speaking from jail, chronicles the tragic events leading to her conspiracy to commit murder. The target of her candor is her now-18-year-old son (the convincingly angry, confused David Lascher) whom she seeks to enlighten about the shocking truth behind her emotional paralysis and his terrorist father.

First problem is credibility. The Smith-Johnson portrayal of the Yaklich courtship is flatly unbelievable; Smith appears much too chic and socially at opposite ends to fall for a greaseball like Johnson’s weightlifter.

The vidpic’s second big problem is that, once ensconsed as his marital slave and punching bag, it’s not made clear why the wife is too afraid to run away but not too afraid to conspire to kill him.

Viewer impatience with Smith’s mind-numbingly foolish homemaker is almost as great as the repulsion for Johnson’s hulking, gun-happy husband. In short, without a sympathetic, let alone empathetic wife figure, director Armand Mastroianni can’t overcome a grueling, almost counterproductive picture.

Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story

(Tues. (1), 9-11 p.m., CBS)

Production: Filmed in L.A. by Carla Singer Prods. Exec producers, Carla Singer, Felice Gordon; co-producers, Arnie Grossman, Christopher Canaan; producer, Joan Carson; director, Armand Mastroianni; writer, Canaan.

Crew: Camera, Paul Onorato; editor, Robert Florio; production design, Patricia Van Ryker; sound, Reinhard Stergar; music, Harry Manfredini.

Cast: Cast: Jaclyn Smith, Brad Johnson, Hilary Swank, David Lascher, Carolyn McCormick, Andrew Lawrence, Ramsey Midwood, Jason Kristofer, David Gianopoulos, David Byron, Lisa Robin Kelly, Gary Hudson, Rosanna Huffman, David Cromwell, Tom Nibley, Malissa Feruzzi, Nomi Mitty, Aixa Clemente, Ron Frazier, Richard Ryder, Warren Munson, Stuart Nisbet.

More TV

  • Daily Show Viacom

    Viacom, DirecTV Make Progress in Contract Talks, No Blackout After Deadline Passes

    UPDATED: Viacom and DirecTV executives went down to the wire Friday on a combative contract renewal negotiation with high stakes for both sides. The companies stayed in talks past the midnight Eastern contract expiration and the channels stayed up on AT&T’s platforms. Sources indicated early Saturday that the threat of a blackout had been averted. [...]

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

  • 'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First

    'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First Docusoap on the State of Reality TV

    Netflix crossed another unscripted threshold on Friday with the launch of “Selling Sunset,” an 8-episode series that follows a group of real estate agents on the Sunset Strip. The show is believed to be the streaming service’s first docusoap, the now-ubiquitous format first popularized in the early 2000s by shows like MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and [...]

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • 'Supernatural' to End After Season 15

    'Supernatural' to End After Season 15 on The CW

    “Supernatural” is ending after 15 seasons. Series stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins made the announcement in a video posted on Instagram on Friday. “We just told the crew that even though we’re very excited to be moving into our 15th season, it will be our last,” Ackles said. “15 years of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content