Monday, April 26, 2010

"When Love is not Enough" - the Lois Wilson story

This Hallmark  Hall of Fame production, aired last night, was a real disappointment. Lois Wilson was the founder of the Al-Anon Family Groups, but we don't get to hear anything about that until the last 20 minutes of the movie. 85% of it was really Bill Wilson's story of being drunk, with Lois playing the long-suffering wife who sticks with him when common sense, and all of her relatives, tell her that she may have backed Bill's horse when she married him, but she didn't have to follow him to the glue factory!

There were some fine moments in the movie, and some of the dialogue was very poignant.  But overall, it was not about Lois. It was about Bill. Most of the movie he was drunk and Lois was aghast. Did we really need to see him drunk that many times to get it that he was a mess and she was too?

There is no attempt made to explain to viewers why Lois stayed. Why she sold off everything in her family home, to stay with a drunk. She never has a scene with anyone where she tells us why she'd choose such a horrible life.

Yet once Bill gets sober, and AA is founded, Lois accidentally finds her calling, and discovers that family members can use the same steps used to help alcoholics get well, for their own recovery. She starts meeting with the wives, who were waiting outside in cars for their husbands. But all that happens at the tail end of the movie, and a real opportunity to shine a light on the incredible work Lois did for families and friends was squandered.

Winona Ryder did a fine job. Too bad she had such a Bill-centric script to deal with. She'd have been amazing portraying the story of Al-Anon's founding, and early years.  Once again, a woman's story is given the short end of the stick by the networks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was great to get a look at how things were from Lois' perspective. I recommend this video to anyone interested in the effects of alcoholism on the marriage, the family, and anyone interested in the history of the 12step movement.