In the Spring of 1987 Vanessa Graves (Donna Mills) arrives in town a widow and not only gets encouraged to meet a new man but she also gets a job working for a stock broker as a secretary. And things are going well as she meets businessman Sidney Wiltz (Peter Riegert) who falls in love with her, giving her thousands of dollars to invest in stocks. What Sidney doesn't realise or anyone else is that Vanessa is a calculated con woman who uses her beauty to seduce men and trick them in to handing over their savings which she says she is investing in stocks but is really a scam.
Maybe it is because every actress in the 90s starred in one of these movies but "An Element of Truth", a TV movie inspired by a true story, ended up a surprisingly tedious experience as we watch Vanessa con her way to being rich by seducing men and convincing them in to trusting her with money. It is just all too routine right down to things getting squeaky for Vanessa on more than one occasion forcing her to have to think fast to avoid being found out. You keep waiting for something interesting to happen and other than Vanessa herself getting scammed by a lover there is not a lot else to say, oh there is one cheesy ending.
Actually that is a lie as whilst "An Element of Truth" features Peter Riegert and Cliff De Young giving reliable performances it is clear that a big part of the movie relies on the looks of Donna Mills. Okay so firstly Donna Mills is not bad in a femme fatale kind of role, bringing an aspect of being deluded to the role but it is clear that director Larry Peerce and cinematographer Don E. FauntLeRoy were captivated by Mills and her seductive blue eyes. It becomes a case that far too many scenes either spend too long focusing on Mills' face or soft lighting a scene to make her hair glow.
What this all boils down to is that "An Element of Truth" probably did entertain fans of Donna Mills back in 1995 and maybe it still does. But for me it is one of the more routine and forgettable TV movies to come out of the 90s with about the only memorable thing being a scene featuring Donna Mills in bed supposedly naked under a layer of bank notes which isn't as amazing as it sounds.