My Son Is Innocent (1996)
Miscarriage of Justice
Here we go again with "My Son Is Innocent" a movie which takes me into familiar territory with the story, based on actual events, of a teenage boy wrongly accused of a crime they didn't commit and a parent's dogged determination to clear them. As I said this is familiar territory and "My Son Is Innocent" is no better or worse than any of the other movies which I have watched which tackle the same subject but with a different true story at their heart. And that is what makes these movies watchable the underlying horror that a young boy's life is ruined by the actions of the police suspecting him of assault.
Eric Sutter (Nick Stahl - Incident in a Small Town) was the sort of kid who gets into trouble or at least that is what one of his neighbours tells the police following an assault on the street where he lives. It leads the police to make Eric their chief suspect, dragging him out of school to question him despite the fact that Eric was out to dinner with his mum Margaret (Marilu Henner - Cannonball Run II) and her boyfriend David (Matt McCoy - The Hand That Rocks the Cradle). With the police pursuing David as the chief suspect and the media and neighbours latching on to this Margaret is determined to prove her son's innocence.
So as I said "My Son Is Innocent" is no better or worse than any other movie which tackles the subject of a boy wrong accused for a crime they didn't commit. As such it takes us through some familiar steps; witnessing the actual crime where we see that Eric is innocent, we see what seems like victimization as the police treat this young kid in a tough way throwing him in a cell and we see how Margaret is frightened by all this as her life is turned upside down. But one extra thing we see which I hadn't seen in other movies was the way that Eric was treated by others as parents and their kids suspect him of being guilty before it has even been proven. That one extra element and a subplot surrounding a D.A. up for re-election flesh this familiar storyline out nicely.
Aside from that the other thing which "My Son Is Innocent" has in its advantage is a likeable cast. Whilst the character of Margaret is a stereotypical concerned mother Marilu Henner is so likeable that it is easy to feel for her and champion her as she fights her son's corner. The same with Nick Stahl as her angry son who feels he has no control and is being victimized. And then there is Matt McCoy who like Henner has a character who is easy to like.
What this all boils down to is that "my Son is Innocent" is a solid, watchable drama about a boy wrongfully accused of a crime. But whilst based upon specific actual events it does make it familiar because there are others which cover similar stories.
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