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Family Rescue (aka Country Justice)
on April 25, 2013
Inspired by a true story, the movie has a 15-year-old girl having a baby after being raped. Emma Baker (Rachael Lee Cook) has been raised by her grandfather, a tough but compassionate coal miner named Clayton Hayes (George C. Scott). Now 15 years old, Emma insists upon a reunion with her estranged mom Angie Baker (Ally Sheedy), only to be raped by her mother's boyfriend Ray Wilcox (Don Diamont).
As a result Emma soon becomes pregnant. With the help of her grandfather, Emma decides to keep her child and tries to appoint Clayton as the child's legal guardian via adoption. When Clayton goes to court in hopes of adopting Emma's baby (Mathew Baker), he is thwarted by the legal system that regards Wilcox as a more suitable guardian.
In a desperate attempt to keep the baby Clayton kidnaps young Mathew Baker and embarks on a long road journey in an effort to evade the law, resulting in serious consequences.
It sounds very bleak, but it never gets heavy-handed, and everything is kept in-check with a nice tone.
The court scenes for example: whether the judge's decision is good or bad, there's no way to take the ruling seriously, given the simplistic nature of the events leading up to them. Mr. Scott's flight from the law is similarly a bit movie-like.
The other scenes are good, but only if you're familiar with this type of TV-movie. It's nothing bad, because the movie has a nice pace and so never gets long.
George C. Scott does a very nice job as the gruff grandfather who wants to protect his family (even if it means breaking the law), and you believe he cares for both his granddaughter and great-grandchild. The lovely Rachel Leigh Cook is very innocent and sympathetic as the young mother, Don Diamont is nothing special as the obsessed stalker. It services the movie well enough and so shouldn't be taken too much as a criticism.
The overall impression of the movie is good. It handles dark subjects with a nice touch and though the real events were probably much more troubling and emotional for the people involved, the movie probably changed the events enough to twist the story to make something more fit for television. The end result is enjoyable and very watchable.