Friday, April 25, 2014
'Perfect Parents' DVD: Christopher Eccleston's Dramatic Hail Mary
The BFS Entertainment DVD release of the 2006 Christopher Eccleston made-for-TV movie "Perfect Parents" shows that British superiority in most television and film genres extends to this class of fare. Ecclseston and fellow "Doctor Who" veteran Susannah Harker star as married couple Stuart and Alison, who go to great lengths to get their daughter accepted at a Catholic school and put in additional effort to ensure that she remains enrolled there.
Like any good drama, the action in "Parents" begins relatively benign and ramps up to an appropriately tense level. A violent incident at daughter Lucy's then-current school prompts Stuart to rapidly pull her out of that institution. A search for a school that offers the desired quality without charging a tuition beyond the means of the family leads to the quest for admission to St. Mary of the Veil.
The related dual challenges are that admission to St. Mary's is very competitive, and this seller's market results in the school only admitting Catholic children.
In the grand tradition of "I know a guy who knows a guy," Stuart obtains both forged documentation that shows that his family is Catholic and meets a priest who is willing (for a price) to provide a reference and verify that the family is active in his church. Very prolific actor David Warner, who is also a "Who" veteran, plays said priest.
An escalating threat to Lucy's continuing her studies at St. Mary's requires an escalating response by Stuart. That leads to blackmail, which puts a further strain on the lives of our "perfect parents."
Throwing in discussions regarding things such as the stance of the Catholic church regarding women and homosexuality adds nice depth to this film. Other topics relate to the sorry state of the general school system on both sides of the pond and the equally universal issue regarding the fairness of having your child take a spot in a desirable school at the expense of an arguably more deserving applicant.
On a less grand level, "Parents" is a good example of a drama in which one event leads to a series of incidents that transport an "ordinary bloke" from his everyday existence to a nightmare of varying intensity. Having the angst invade your life in such a manner can be truly terrifying.
The end result regarding all this is that "Parents" greatly outshines a typical American made-for-TV-movie in terms of story, cast, and overall production values.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Parents" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.