×

The Truth About Jane

One of the many messages in "The Truth About Jane" is that even the best intentions can go awry. The same can be said of this Lifetime original movie that, at its most poignant, drifts dangerously close to ABC After School Special territory and at its weakest, plays like a very special episode of "Melrose Place."

With:
Janice - Stockard Channing Jane - Ellen Muth Ms. Walcott - Kelly Rowan Beth - Jenny O'Hara Jimmy - RuPaul Charles Ned - Noah Fleiss Taylor - Alicia Lagano Brad - Kacy Clark Robert - James Naughton

One of the many messages in “The Truth About Jane” is that even the best intentions can go awry. The same can be said of this Lifetime original movie that, at its most poignant, drifts dangerously close to ABC After School Special territory and at its weakest, plays like a very special episode of “Melrose Place.”

Although writer and director Lee Rose’s script is aided immensely by a talented cast including Stockard Channing, James Naughton and Ellen Muth, the film plays like one long lecture series. In fact, pic could just as easily be called “How Not to Behave as a Parent When Your Child Is Gay.” Granted, it’s an important idea to convey, but it is presented here with all of the subtlety of an anvil to the head.

Janice (Channing) is an overprotective and overly involved baby boomer mother who projects a tremendous amount of her own hopes and dreams on her teen daughter Jane (Muth).

Jane is suffering through the usual horrors and turmoil of her first year of high school, but when she meets the new girl in town, the dynamic and worldly Taylor (Alicia Lagano), she realizes her feelings go beyond friendship.

As Jane’s sexual orientation becomes more apparent, her relationship with her mother starts to deteriorate. Janice, a self-avowed liberal with gay friends, simply can’t accept her daughter’s newfound sexuality.

The tone of the piece, which starts out lightheartedly, fluctuates wildly throughout. Viewers are introduced to this mother and daughter relationship through the most superficial of dynamics such as shopping and eating ice cream. No wonder Jane can’t turn to her mother when the issues become important.

Instead, Jane and Janice learn about accepting one another through Jimmy (RuPaul Charles), Janice’s gay friend. It’s Jimmy’s character that gets to deliver the public service announcement dialogue that the entire movie appears to have been created around.

While the message is a worthy one, the execution, with maudlin music and heavy-handed fadeouts, clouds the delivery. Rose does manage to work in some interesting side stories including a gay teacher who counsels Jane as well as the notion that even gay teen love can be fickle. However, Janice’s betrayal of Jane is so abrupt and complete that any tidy resolution just doesn’t ring true.

Both Muth and Channing are fine in their individual roles, but when playing scenes together, they both resort to emotional grandstanding. Naughton is left with the only centered role and is therefore the most consistent.

Uneven sound quality muddles what is otherwise standard technical quality.

The Truth About Jane

Lifetime; Mon. Aug. 7; 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed on location in Phoenix by Orly Adelson Prods. in association with Hearst Entertainment for Lifetime Television. Executive producer, Orly Adelson; director, writer, Lee Rose.

Crew: Camera, Eric Van Haren Noman; editor, Peter V. White; music, Terence Blanchard; casting, Susan Glickman, Fern Orenstein. 2 HOURS.

Cast: Janice - Stockard Channing Jane - Ellen Muth Ms. Walcott - Kelly Rowan Beth - Jenny O'Hara Jimmy - RuPaul Charles Ned - Noah Fleiss Taylor - Alicia Lagano Brad - Kacy Clark Robert - James Naughton

More TV

  • Ken Ehrlich Jane Ortner Education Award,

    Grammy Awards Producer Shuffle: Ben Winston to Take Over From Ken Ehrlich in 2021

    As Variety reported in December, Ben Winston will take the reins of the Grammy Awards as executive producer in 2021 after longtime telecast leader Ken Ehrlich completes his 40th ceremony next year. Winston has become a prolific producer for CBS and other outlets since he moved to the U.S. nearly five years ago to launch [...]

  • Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky

    Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky Cinema After Management Shuffle

    Sarah Wright, Sky’s top acquisitions exec, will take on responsibility for Sky Cinema after a management shuffle at the pay-TV giant. Wright fills a role vacated by Ian Lewis, who recently left Sky after 20 years. He was one of several Sky staffers to leave after its takeover by Comcast. As director of Sky Cinema [...]

  • Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer

    Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer on Matthew Modine Slate

    Veteran actress and union activist Jodi Long is running for secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA as a member of Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. She is facing Camryn Manheim, who announced her candidacy on July 9 as part of the Unite for Strength slate for the re-election of union president Gabrielle Carteris. Unite for Strength and United [...]

  • BAFTA Backs BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training for

    BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training Rolls Out to BAFTA Voters, Wider Industry (EXCLUSIVE)

    The British Independent Film Awards is opening up its unconscious-bias training to BAFTA voters and, more widely, to anyone who judges the work of others in the film and TV business in the U.K. With the makeup of award-nominee and -winner lists under close scrutiny, BIFA introduced its unconscious-bias training last year. Its voters, jurors, [...]

  • New U.K. Film and TV Studio

    New U.K. Film and TV Studio Proposed for Leeds, in Northern England

    With studio space in high demand, a sizable new film and TV complex has been proposed for Leeds, the city in northern England that is fast becoming a major U.K. media hub outside of London. It has already been selected as the base for Channel 4’s new national headquarters, and companies such as pay-TV giant [...]

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up fromchief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software and technology [...]

  • La Linea Invisible

    Mariano Barroso Shoots Basque Conflict Origins Story ‘La Linea Invisible’

    IRUN, Spain  — When- and why – do people begin to kill for a cause? Having created “What the Future Holds,” maybe the best reviewed to date of any Movistar + Original Series, Spain’s Mariano Barroso (“The Wolves of Washington”) tackles this question head on in “La Línea Invisible,” a six-part series, again from Movistar [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content