By Tom Gliatto
January 08, 1996 12:00 PM

The Family Channel (Sun., Jan. 7, 7 p.m. ET)


This movie is a sure-handed piece of work, a simple, touching memory tale. In 1956 a young Yankee (Unstrung Heroes’ Nathan Watt, who has the face of a prepubescent Walter Matthau) summers down South with his eccentric great-aunts: Earline (Linda Lavin), stern and matriarchal; Sally Ann (Shirley Knight), a giddy dumpling; and Jessie (Mary Tyler Moore), who suffered brain damage from a mysterious childhood accident and now barely ventures out of her flower garden. This story, with its mix of nostalgic reverie and racial vicious-ness, is unduly indebted to To Kill a Mockingbird, but the three actresses are in good and distinctive form.