Bonds of Love (1993)
The Power of Love
Prior to watching "Bonds of Love" I had read a synopsis and knew it was about a woman's relationship with a mentally disabled man and immediately thought was this someone trying to remake "Tim" starring Mel Gibson. But then I discovered that "Bonds of Love" is in fact based on a true story and not the remake I thought it was going to be instead focussing on a family thinking they are doing the best for their son oblivious to the harm they are doing. It makes it a fascinating, emotional drama which has some issues but enough power that lifts it above those issues.
Whilst Robby Smith (Treat Williams - Once Upon a Time in America) may look like an ordinary guy he isn't, as he puts it he's a little slow, a few problems, no big deal but it means he needs taking care off. Despite getting on in years his parents are happy to look after him and so is his brother Kenny (Steve Railsback). But that all changes when Robby meets Rose Parks (Kelly McGillis - The Babe) a divorcee and former alcoholic whose children were put into care because she didn't prevent her first husband from hitting them. Robby likes Rose, really likes her and Rose likes him but Robby's family don't want her anywhere near their son as she is a woman of ill repute and will do what ever they can to stop them.
So "Bonds of Love" has this simple storyline about a romance between Rose and Robby, this caring friendship which blossoms into a real relationship which is good for each half. Rose allows Robby to stand on his own too feet, learn to cook and be responsible for things whilst she feels her relationship with Robby is her chance of redemption to make up for failed relationships in the past. But we also have that element of trying to keep them apart as Robby's family by only trying to protect him do more harm than good by holding him back and allowing him to drink. It's that simple but very effective as it is easy to champion both Robby and Rose and understand that Robby's family are misguided in their attempts to keep Robby and Rose apart, whilst also feeling angered by the way they go about separating them.
Now there is the subject of acting and Kelly McGillis gives a simple but beautiful performance as Rose who whilst vibrant is haunted by her past mistakes which makes her unsure. And then there is Treat Williams who has the much harder job of playing Robby and at a times it does feel a little uncomfortable, a little too forced as he tries to show his naivety and simple view on life. But there are some very powerful scenes which thanks to Williams' portrayal blow you away.
What this all boils down to is that "Bonds of Love" ends up a beautiful and powerful movie which whilst not flawless is better than most would expect from a made for TV movie.
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