NBC (Mon., Dec. 9, 9 p.m. ET)
Mare (St. Elmo’s Fire) Winningham plays a child who has to be the ears and voice of her deaf parents, played by deaf actors Phyllis Frelich and Ed Waterstreet. They struggle through the Depression, surviving with pride. But then Mare meets a man, marries and suffers guilt and her parents’ ire for leaving them in silence. Such a story is meant to tug at your heart. But the movie tries too hard, setting up its emotional moments without subtlety: Dad points to a bright sky and asks his daughter a question, in sign; she smiles lovingly and answers, “No, sunshine is silent when it falls.” If the show weren’t so well-meaning, it might be manipulative. Instead, it’s just a little too melodramatic. But the performances are touching even when the script isn’t.