Tells a fascinating and unsettling true story, and does so well, without pretending to have all the answers.
This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.
One of the most extraordinary films you will see this year. Take that as you want.
Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.
Outstanding television movie involving the sleuthing of one Jessica Fletcher, played to the hilt by the great Angela Lansbury.This civil war tale has Jessica going back in time over 100 years, as her aunt, and with a wonderful southern accent, Lansbury pulls this off in a very good, profound performance.Scars are brought out in this tale of injustice, murder and ultimate redemption. In the modern day south, there is still the call for our life being preserved, even if this meant hatred.Phylicia Rashad guests as a black author trying to see if she can vindicate her great-grandfather of murder. We view a tale of misery through slavery, the revelation of the Underground Railroad, as well as bigotry at its worst. In her southern version, Jessica, as her aunt, comes across as a kindly woman, sympathetic to the plight of slaves. There is no southern proper judgment for its slaves as we soon see.The picture is extra good, because the supposed obvious murder isn't the guilty party, but rather someone you would never expect.Gloria Stuart appears in one scene as the great-granddaughter of a man who participated in the Underground Railway movement.
Apart from starting off a tad slow and one or two of the props and extra took away from the authenticity of the period, this is a very good and well executed TV movie, based off the wonderful TV show. It looks wonderful, not only in the present day but especially in the flashbacks, where the costumes, photography, sets and scenery are marvellous. The music is a delight too, playful and memorable yet is dramatic in places as well. The dialogue is good enough too, the direction is fine and the story is well written and dramatic with a very poignant and equally dramatic ending. The acting is excellent, Angela Lansbury once again gives a very strong performance but I was also delighted by how dignified and integral Michael Jace was as Sam. Overall, a really very good TV movie. 8/10 Bethany Cox
While doing a bit of studying for a course during the day, this TV movie popped on the tele. I was about to begin the channel hopping process to find something more suitable for background watching when the title flashed up 'Murder, She Wrote'. Now I'm no massive fan of the show, but I'll admit that I do enjoy repeats when I see them; no exceptions here.The opening attracts the viewer right away. It's the classic 'whodunit' model as we see an African-American fellow running from an angry mob of Southerners. This is great scene-setting, as almost everyone can gather from these establishing shots and the props that we're way back during the times of black slavery. The final shot before we flash-forward to the modern day is literally a shot (from a gun). We don't see who shoots the man looking to escape, but we want to know who.To find out who fired the gun and reach the dramatic climax, we need some present-day detective work from none other than Jessica Fletcher and her great Southern Aunt, Sarah McCullough (an initially laughable technique to put Jessica Fletcher in the past, but ultimately very effective).The man that we saw running and, presumably, shot is Sam; a black slave owned by Sarah. Sam is accused of murdering a white man and from there on in it's classic Murder, She Wrote.The acting is really something special. The stand-out for me is Michael Jace as Sam. What a wonderful performance, delivered with such skill and integrity - considering the subject matter. Angela Lansbury (who was around about 75 when this was filmed) is as strong as ever in arguably her most famous role.My only problem was with some of the props and the haircuts/facial hair. For some reason, they took me out of the immersion that the telemovie had so far provided; a few of the extras looked as if they were modern day people dressed in costume, bah! Nonetheless, this is a good telemovie and yet another great outing from Jessica Fletcher. 8/10 Oh, and happy birthday Angela Lansbury. Just turned 84 and I hear she's on Broadway again, brilliant!
WARNING: LIGHT SPOILERS AHEADThis piece has wonderful historical elements in addition to a well written script. Angela turns in a predictably enjoyable performance as Jessica Fletcher, as well as in the role of Sarah McCullough, her own great aunt.Phylicia Rashad, in the role of Cassandra Hawkins is both intriguing and firey. That the 2 don't get along based on views of how history should be used/interpreted/shared adds a nice element to this well constructed who-dunnit. That it's an historical murder makes it all the more fascinating to us history buffs.Phylicia and Angela work very well together in this movie -- well worth watching for Jessica Fletcher fans and History buffs alike!