Deftly directed by Kevin Hooks, “To My Daughter With Love” looks at the turmoil of a man who comes to grips with his wife’s unexpected death and the fact that he might lose his child. With top-of-the-line performances by Rick Schroder, Linda Gray and Lawrence Pressman, this intelligent telefilm should reach a wide audience.
Joey Cutter (Schroder) earns such low pay as a carpenter that his wife, Alice (Megan Gallivan), works part-time to pay for daughter Emily’s (Ashley Malinger) tuition.
When Alice suffers an aneurysm and dies, Joey is faced with the dilemma of how best to deal with his daughter, who needs a woman’s care. To make matters even worse, Joey loses his job.
At the insistence of Alice’s parents (Gray, Pressman), Joey agrees to allow them to raise Emily, believing they can give her a better life. But Joey discovers that he “wants to do what’s right” and tries to retrieve his daughter.
Both the script by Michael de Guzman, which is restrained and beautifully written, and the expert handling of material by director Hooks, make for some strong television fare.
All the elements — from the understated yet sumptuous production design of Veronica Hadfield to the muted photography of Christopher Taylor and soothing score by Branford Marsalis — fit together like puzzle pieces. Exec producers Steve White and Sheri Singer, producers Barry Bernardi and the production team should be congratulated on a fine piece of work.