For the hardy few to whom “Beverly Lewis’ The Confession” really is the much-anticipated sequel to “The Shunning,” its arrival is no doubt good news. To the rest of the world, this Hallmark Channel movie derived from the second of Lewis’ “The Heritage of Lancaster County” books is distinguished by possessing slightly more edge than the network’s standard fare, and a solid tandem in Katie Leclerc (“Switched at Birth”) and Sherry Stringfield (was “ER” really that long ago?) as its leads. It’s also enough of a stand-alone story one needn’t have thrilled to part one to join the buggy ride.
Leclerc plays Katie, who was “shunned” by the Amish community that raised her in the first film. Now out in the modern world, she seeks to reconnect with her birth mother, Laura (Stringfield), a wealthy socialite who early on is presented with a fatal cancer diagnosis. This comes as bad news to Laura’s leech of a husband, Dylan (Adrian Paul), who needs his wife’s money to finance his gambling habit. Fearing he will lose his inheritance when he hears from Katie, he seizes on a scheme to pass off a struggling actress (“Once and Again’s” Julia Whelan) as Katie, hoping to secure access to his wife’s estate before she dies.
Actually, the movie’s pretty good right up until then, at which point director Michael Landon Jr. (who co-wrote the script with Brian Bird) has trouble sustaining much momentum or suspense. When Katie shows up at the house she’s mistaken for a maid, and the stretch she spends in that disguise amounts to killing time until the inevitable moment (it’s a Hallmark movie, after all) when mother and daughter are going to be heartwarmingly reunited.
“The Confession” also comes with an understated spiritual streak, as Laura appears at peace with her fate and speaks of an afterlife. If that at times sounds a trifle sappy, it no doubt will play well with a sizable segment of the Hallmark audience.
It gives away little, in fact, to note “The Confession” already appears to have its sights set on a third movie, and why not? Because as the world inhabited by Hallmark Channel turns, one predictably uplifting story invariably deserves another.