A Dangerous Woman (1993) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Martha Horgan, a naive woman with an intellectual impairment who lives with her aunt Frances in a small town, is known for always telling the truth. She works at a dry cleaner, where her compulsive truth-telling leads her to report to the boss that another employee has been stealing from the cash register. The thief, in turn, accuses Martha, and she loses her job. In the mean time, a mysterious stranger named Mackey appears at Martha's residence after learning that Aunt Frances needs her porch repaired. Mackey is hired and becomes intimately involved with Martha... which only leads to tragedy.

  • Martha Horgan is a plain, mentally challenged woman, although her disability has never been officially medically diagnosed. Martha lives in the guest house of her wealthy aunt, Frances Beechum, who is only a few years older than Martha herself. Frances has taken care of Martha since they were kids. To satisfy her own emotional needs, Frances is having an affair with politician Steve Bell, the affair which they deny when confronted by Steve's wife, Anita Bell. Unknown to Martha, Frances is paying the wages for her job at the dry cleaners, the job to give Martha an adult sense of purpose. Martha, in her mental state, has a difficult time telling lies, which in combination with her naivety results in her being easily taken advantage of. These issues place Martha in a bad state at work, and places a wedge between her and her only real friend Birdy over an issue concerning Birdy's less than straight-up boyfriend, Getso. So Martha welcomes the friendship of Mackey, a drifter who admits he drinks a little too much and who is able to finagle his way into a handyman job for Frances reconstructing her damaged front porch. These relationships in combination lead to Martha needing to lie to save her life, something which she may not be able to do or comprehend the consequences if she doesn't.



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