NBC (Mon., May 20, 9 P.M. ET)
Based on Ireland’s nonfiction book Life Lines, this bathetic bioflic recounts the trying final years of the actress, the wife of Charles Bronson.
It’s 1985 and Ireland, played by Jill Clayburgh, has found out that her breast cancer is in remission. She then discovers that her adopted son (Neill Barry) is a heroin addict. Still feeling the effects of her disease, she begins to battle his.
The intent is inspirational, but the story is presented as bad soap opera. And talk about jarring: The final image of a cloyingly upbeat ending lingers on the screen as a graphic informs us that the young man died of an overdose in 1989 and that a recurrence of cancer claimed Ireland six months later.
Clayburgh trots out a disastrously variable British accent, and Lance (Pumpkinhead) Henriksen portrays “Charlie” by talking as if his vocal cords were flash-frozen. (The film was made over the objections of Bronson. who would not allow his name to be used. See story, page 38.)
The best acting here is by Elizabeth Ashley as Barry’s troubled biological mother.