In the nasty little Sins of the Mother, Elizabeth Montgomery stars as a mean mother who dominates the life of her adult son (Dream Street‘s Dale Midkiff). As is often the case with bad TV movies, the psychology that motivates the plot is primitive, to say the least: Christopher Lofton’s fact-based script asks us to believe that this young man is driven to rape women because he finds his mother’s constant hectoring too much to bear. Perhaps the real-life facts bear out Lofton’s point, but to alternate scenes of Mommy yelling and Sonny raping, as happens frequently in this movie, makes for crude drama indeed.
Montgomery, who has proven herself a subtle TV actress since her nose-twitching days on Bewitched, is wasted here. She does little more than glare and spit out lines like “I’m grateful you’re merely my son and I never had to have you in my bed!” and “I just don’t think rape is that big a deal….You’ve just got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on with your life.” The conflicting tones in Sins of the Mother — ridiculous one minute, appalling the next — are intended to make the movie deeply unsettling. Instead, it just seems deeply cynical.