April 21, 1997 12:00 PM

ABC (Mon., April 21, 8 p.m. ET)


Bad sign: In the opening credits the sponsors come before the title. Worse sign: One of those sponsors, Hallmark, has a new line of Mother’s Day cards tied to this documentary. Pleasant surprise: The program is better than a sappy, hour-long commercial for mother-daughter bonding (and gift-giving).

Speaking to an unseen interviewer, women and girls discuss what the mother-daughter relationship means to them. The filmmakers complement the talking heads with memorable real-life moments: a woman and her 3-year-old adopted daughter, both disabled, playing happily in their wheelchairs; a middle-age woman worrying over her elderly mother in the hospital; an exasperated mother coming home to find no sign of her wayward teenager except her cigarettes.

The sugar content goes up on occasion (little angels in ballet class tell why they love Mommy), but there’s a fair measure of sour with the sweet. Says one teenager of her mother: “I used to be attached to her at the hip; now I can’t stand being around her.” Try that on a Hallmark card.

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