Deadly Nightshade (TV Movie 1995) Poster

(1995 TV Movie)

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Why did I even bother watching this?
philip_vanderveken23 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Already by reading the title "Fighting For My Daughter" I had my doubts about this movie. I feared this would be one of those mellow tearjerkers. You know, the kind of movies with the label 'true story' on it, showing you how miserable someone's life once was, but how it all got better thanks to the help of some friends, family, God ... or I don't know who else. And once again my hunch was right.

This time it is about a 16 year old girl who lives with her mother and younger brother. Her mom doesn't have much time for her because she tries to manage her own computer firm and dad is nowhere to be seen. She isn't very popular at school, but than she meets Eric at a party. Eric is a very nice, innocent looking guy. He seems to be the perfect son-in-law every mother would dream of, but he also has a dark side. He's a pimp and even though he says he doesn't want his girlfriend to prostitute herself, he'll gradually brainwash her and direct her into a job as a streetwalker.

In every way this is a typical TV-movie. It's full of stereotypes (it shows a lot of drama, but in the end everything gets better again) and the story is predictable and ridiculous and sometimes even laughable (for instance when mom and her friend go on the streets, "disguised" as prostitutes, to find her daughter and then get arrested). The acting is far from good, but that's exactly what I expected (what else to expect from actors who only play in this kind of movies). Even the message at the end of the movie that she has taken up her life again and that her mom gave up her job to help people who want to quit prostitution isn't missing.

I really can't recommend this movie to anyone, especially not to parents of teenage daughters who get easily worried. They might think this kind of stuff happens every day, but I really can't imagine that it does. I give it a 4/10. I really can't think of any reason why I should watch this movie ever again.
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Compelling drama, Lindsay Wagner was great
blakewp7 August 2009
I caught this little gem of a movie early Saturday morning and was very glad I did. The whole "Pimp and Ho" shtick has been parodied to the point that we've almost forgotten what we're parodying. This movie sets the tone for the ugly, messy underground of Pimps, Street Walkers and strained families. There's no punches pulled as Lindsay Wagners' daughter is sucked into the underground and slowly turned to prostitution.

I really enjoyed this. I'm surprised that only negative comments were listed on this page. I recommend this for everyone, especially for parents of young daughters.

On a side note, I think Lindsay Wagner is a very sexy woman even now into her 60s (although this movie has an unsexy tone).
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fighting a bad dye job
petershelleyau1 November 2002
Lindsay Wagner is Kate Kerner, a Washington computer programmer whose 16 year old daughter Jesse (Renee Humphrey) is `turned out' ie seduced into the life of a prostitute with the help of pimps Eric Lambert (Chad Lowe) and Russell (Kurt Baltz).

Kate has copper-red long hair which looks simply awful on Wagner, who wears a wig of grey-blonde color when she poses as a prostitute to get information on Jesse's whereabouts. Although inclined to utilise a hair flicking mannerism, Wagner's best moments are when parodying the misogynistic lyrics of rap music, arguing with a disinterested prostitute when showing her Jesse's picture, the Bionic smashing open of a door with a fire extinguisher, and the confrontation with Jesse which makes her leave home. In the latter Wagner's face slapping is unconvincing, but she intones `He is using you' and in reaction to Jesse's I don't want your help `Well, you don't have a choice' with force, and supplies a jittery broken reaction to Jesse's exit.

The teleplay by Eric Blakeney, based on a true story, presents Kate as a weak mother who is too lenient with Jesse, as a reaction to the conservatism of her own mother Edna Burton (Piper Laurie) who is a Judge! Perhaps the red hair is supposed to be a remnant of Kate's rebelliousness, since she is a former biker's moll, and abandoned mother. Although given that the context makes Jesse's unhappiness seem relatively inexplicable, Blakeney does provide a funny phrase in `the ferocity of a butterfly'.

Director Peter Levin doesn't make Wagner's transformation into a prostitute funny, the way he does her friend Peggy (Deirdre O'Connell), and he cuts away from Wagner's telling off a `don't-give-a-crap-attitude' cop which reads as over-reaction anyway.
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a real life mother is disillusioned after selling the rights to her story to Longbow for Lindsay Wanger's star vehicle
sanfrangelo16 February 2012
I interned at Longbow Productions in 1994 while they were making this film during the first semester of my third year at the University of Southern California. I was a Journalism major with a Cinema-TV emphasis so I decided to write my Investigative Reporting final piece on the process I witnessed take place. The film was based on the true life experience of a woman who had sold the rights of her story to Longbow only to grow severely disillusioned. Ann Dion (Lindsay Wagner's character) was a Canadian mother who had weathered the mean urban streets to rescue her daughter from a life in prostitution after the girl ran away. As the story was tweaked and twisted around to placate the whims of Hollywood executives, Dion felt her POV was being compromised. The producers justified their actions by underlining their obligation to make the less desirable (or attractive)characters palatable to American audiences while sending an educational message about the pitfalls of teenage delinquency at the same time. In reality, the pimp who hustled Dion's real life daughter into the sex trade was a black man but ABC Standards & Practices felt that Chad Lowe would be more appropriate in the role because he was white. The network was leery of stereotyping black people as indicative of a crime laden culture by using a black actor. They were bound by political correctness and the possibility of public outcry. The film ultimately resulted in coming off a little preachy when they added an additional public service announcement voiced by Lindsay Wagner who warned parents about how to look out for signs their daughter may be playing hooky to be a hooker. Ann Dion said she felt as if she herself had been pimped out after her story was "sold out from under her." The film added a disclaimer, "based on a true story", to absolve themselves of having to account for changing what Dion felt were pertinent details about her own life to satisfy audiences.
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A fighting movie, that deserves a fighting chance of a viewing
This tele film kind of becomes a cliché' after watching the better Daughter Of The Streets, or other movies centered around the theme of teen prostitution (another one that sprang to mind was Co Ed Girl, with Tori Spelling. This one, still a good meaty drama, just isn't as good. It actually resembles in half and half, the two other films I just mentioned. Lindsay Wagner is the hapless mother, who's daughter (sexy blonde haired Humphrey who can act up a storm, if Fun and Streetwise are any indication) meets young and charming Mr Wrong (Lowe) who's working his way up as a pimp, being recruited by an older piece of work (Baltz- the poor tortured cop in Reservoir Dogs) one of two great performances, the other being that of Paul Lieber as a cool slimeball club manager, who from the back, with his snow white hair, and stance reminds you of Dickie Gere in IA, while from the front, if looking blankly, he's a much less attractive version, of that star sex symbol. He was the one I really liked, while Baltz is one real nasty piece of work. Look, there are stereotypical traits here, but otherwise FFMD is quite an interesting and hard hitting drama that kind of stings you a little. Lowe kind of I don't overacted his bit, and Mr Hilary Swank, kind of showed a self consciousness to his role, while Wagner was very good, as the independent, and stout hearted mother, her fiery self, a likable character attribute in this heavy factual drama, Humphrey is the sexy eye candy, her character rejected by a modelling agency for being a little too on the heavy self. If you can believe that. Baltz amusingly, corrects her on his opinion of the modelling agency, when telling her she's too thin, his dialogue in this scene, when offering here advice is priceless. Humphrey is a young actress who's really impressed, her star should of shone much bigger, never looking sexier in StreetWise, while Fun confirmed her take note, acting talent. I had not known it was Humphrey, until after looking at IMDb, where the hair colour change, threw me off. Piper Laurie is very strong as the aunt too. FFMD is a very well acted and recommended watch, with very much the same entertainment factor as Co Ed Call Girl. Watch it if only for Lieber, amusingly suave and cool, his every scene, the best. Deadly Nightshade, it's alias title is a better title too.
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I enjoyed this movie quite realistic..
seve07222 June 2015
i live in France and watched this TV movie in french and i enjoyed it..Jessie is very naïve but credible and i find the other comments very critical towards her performance.She is pretty,has everything for her but doesn't have good grades and success in modelling and she lost her father who is absent so she needs love and affection and will fall in love with a wannabe pimp Erik who is weird since the beginning. The mother or Lindsay wagner who was too permissive is just perfect with her daughter and just knows the temper of the boy.And Piper laurie is excellent.Actually the mother always had a hard relationship with her own strict mother and joined a bad band when she was a teen and Jessie just repeats the same pattern.It is interesting to see how things can repeat.And the other pimp russel is disgusting and revolting using Jessie just to have sex and telling her she is not sexy and too thin..A sad story but with a good end.Thanks! I would have liked to know the real name of Jessie in the credit and i regret it is not mentioned.
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Based on a true story...
aprilindeecee5 February 2006
Too bad it wasn't based on a credible or well-written script! This isn't even good enough to be a bad Law and Order Special Victims Unit episode and isn't close enough to credibility to be "ripped" from today's headlines.

Lindsay Wagner is all over the place as Jessie's mother, Kate; the ingénue playing Jessie would be poor even by soap opera standards. She is almost laughable delivering her lines. Chad Lowe who has all of his scenes with Jessie brings out the worst in her. In fact, he gives his worst performance to-date (and that's saying volumes) as a wannabe pimp named Eric.

In contrast, Piper Laurie does what she can as Kate's mother, a judge - in very sense of the word. The actress playing Kate's best friend actually gives the film its best moments. The actor playing major-league pimp Russell was good enough to do so on a prime-time soap opera. The American Graffiti style happy ending hammers the final unbelievable nail into this typical women-as-victims-made-for-Lifetime exercise in wasting time.
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