Behind Closed Doors

Vanessa King in Daddy's Little Secret (1993) (aka: Liar, Liar)

When Kelly (Vanessa King) misbehaved and locked her brother in the bathroom knowing that he is scared of the room her father Gil (Art Hindle) flies off the handle and says she needs to be taught a lesson and takes her in to the bathroom to punish her. But Gil doesn't stop there as a few days later he has another go at Kelly for watching boys playing sport. Having had enough Kelly first tells a school friend she plans to get him back and then tells her teacher that her father has been sexually abusing her. And suddenly life changes for everyone in the family as her mum doesn't believe her and her little sister blames her for splitting up the family and Kelly left being isolated with only a few allies such as her older, married sister Christina (Janne Mortil).

Oh look another TV movie which deals with the subject of child abuse. That is not me being flippant or being disrespectful of the subject but the simple fact that there are quite a few movies which deal with the upsetting subject of child abuse and deal with it in a similar fashion. It is why when I came across "Daddy's Little Secret", also known as "liar, Liar", my initial expectations were not overly high and was pleasantly surprised by the thought which has gone in to this made for TV movie to the point I had to watch it a second time to make sure I hadn't imagined things.

Art Hindle in Daddy's Little Secret (1993) (aka: Liar, Liar)

There is actually a lot going on in "Daddy's Little Secret" starting with almost a touch of the girl who cries wolf as Kelly has form for making things up and so others think it is her just playing up again when she says her father had sex with her. But we see how her form and what she says leads to others treating her harshly as her friends think she has made it all up to teach her dad a lesson and it leads to Kelly having second thoughts as she feels isolated by it all.

All seems pretty normal until you start thinking about what we have witnessed as Kelly's little brother is frightened of the bathroom, the bathroom which Gil drags Kelly in. Then there is the clear issue between Gil and his eldest daughter Christina who is angry when she hears what her father has been accused of and wants him to promise he never did anything. It is clear that whilst we don't know what happened in the bathroom there are signals that all is not right but Kelly's history of lying makes it all a bit cloudy especially as Kelly seems so in control and almost calculated at times.

As such "Daddy's Little Secret" ends up a much more intriguing movie than you might first expect and it is also a hard hitting one which doesn't shy away from descriptively graphic. Because it is more descriptively graphic you have to say that Vanessa King delivers an astonishing performance as young Kelly and that calculated aspect really helps to create this level of intrigue which keeps you watching.

What this all boils down to is that "Daddy's Little Secret" was probably meant to be more a movie about whether a young girl's accusations were lies or not but ends up a fascinating look at aspects of a child abuse case from friends turning on Kelly to her family being torn apart and how an abuser manipulates children to keep secrets. That doesn't sound much but "Daddy's Little Secret" is one of the more engaging movies which tackle child abuse.

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