Two Mothers for Zachary (1996)

Valerie Bertinelli in Two Mothers for Zachary (1996)

What Makes a Mother

Several things happened to Jody Ann Shaffell (Valerie Bertinelli) pretty much all at once; she fell pregnant but split from her husband and ended up moving back home to her mothers. But the biggest thing which happened to her was after her son was born she started dating Maggie (Colleen Flynn) something which her mother Nancy (Vanessa Redgrave) refused to accept especially when they moved in together. Not only did Nancy refuse to accept her daughter's lesbian relationship but she decided to go to court to fight for custody of her grandson Zachary on the grounds that Jody being a lesbian made her a bad mother.

I will guarantee that if you go looking for reviews of "Two Mothers for Zachary" you will find some people rating it 10 out of 10. The reason why is that it has the sort of storyline, one of blatant injustice which really riles you up especially when it is based on a true story, that of Sharon Bottoms and her mother Kay Bottoms. But whilst there is no denying that the true story to "Two Mothers for Zachary" will make you feel something, most likely anger, to say this made for TV movie is a perfect 10 out of 10 is going too far as visually and acting wise it is mostly just average.

Vanessa Redgrave in Two Mothers for Zachary (1996)

So in many ways "Two Mothers for Zachary" is a simple enough movie, daughter falls for a woman and her mother vehemently disapproves, so much she decides to take legal action to sue her daughter for custody of her grandchild. Now let's be honest you would think the grandmother's case for custody would be laughed out of court yet that is not the case as in 1993 when this true story was unfolding homosexual sex was illegal in Virginia and so the court ruled in favour of the grandmother. Does the story end there well I will let you see for yourself although trust me that is enough to anger you right away.

But the thing is that whilst "Two Mothers for Zachary" tackles this emotive subject it is done in an extremely typical mid 90s TV movie way. The direction is solid but unremarkable and most of the acting is solid but forgettable. Having said that Vanessa Redgrave does a good job of angering you as the bigoted Nancy whilst Valerie Bertinelli easily draws sympathy as she struggles being a young mum dealing with the disapproval of her own mother.

What this all boils down to is that there is no denying that the storyline in "Two Mothers for Zachary" will anger you. But at the same time we are talking 90s TV movie here and whilst the acting in some places is good the rest of it is just standard TV movie.