When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (2010)

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie before so I don’t really know if this represents a good or bad example of its kin. What I do know is that the movie isn’t particularly well written, with a screenplay overtaken by tiresome repetitiveness: Tracing the origin story of Alcoholics Anonymous through the eyes of a devoted, dutiful wife of an alcoholic in the early twentieth century, it mostly meanders from scenes of drunken debauchery to the morning-after shame to empty promises of reform, again and again and again. That’s not exactly a lot of meat on which to hang an entire feature-length plot, and the movie drags a lot in the middle portion as a result. We also don’t find out much about Lois Wilson herself beyond her devotion to her husband, who himself is mostly defined by his selfishness, so their marital troubles aren’t particularly interesting. However, the movie is rescued from doldrums by Winona Ryder’s impressive performance as Wilson: There isn’t much for her to work with but she manages to find enough to sink her teeth in, and she single-handedly makes the movie worth sitting through at least once.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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