November 09, 1987 12:00 PM

CBS (Sun., Nov. 8, 9 p.m. ET)


All good movies must tell a great story. But disease-of-the-week movies have an added obligation to take action or at least educate. If they do any less, then they are merely exploiting suffering for ratings. Most disease movies fail this difficult test; Right to Die and Strange Voices are two that fell short. But Kids Like These is a humble example of a movie that passes the test. Kids tells the story of a mother’s tremendous courage and hard work in the face of heartache. Kids also makes us a little better informed about the abilities and needs of children with Down’s syndrome. In a drama inspired by the life of the script’s co-writer, Emily Perl Kingsley, Tyne Daly and Richard Crenna play parents who decide not to institutionalize their Down’s syndrome baby. Daly, a teacher, pushes her son to read and write. They make amazing progress and show off their success for doctors and parents, defeating prejudice wherever they go. But then the script is honest enough to let us see Daly’s disappointment when she discovers her son’s limits. It is not a great movie. There are a few too-obvious scenes. And Daly, having tilted at so many windmills on Cagney & Lacey, sometimes runs on automatic pilot. But it is a good movie that does some good.

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