Ironically Unstable

I'm just trying to catch up, not crack up - Megan

Shiri Appleby in Unstable (2009)

A woman whose previous relationship left her in a state of fragility thinks she has found bliss with a new man, except suddenly strange things happen and everyone thinks she is going crazy again. Does that sound familiar because it is; there have been plenty of movies which feature someone with a fragile mind being manipulated to think they are going crazy with some notable movies including the brilliant "Gaslight" from 1940. Brilliant is not what I would use to describe "Unstable" a made for TV movie which uses the woman made to think she is mad storyline. But I will say that "Unstable" is a solid TV movie take on the idea, suffering from the usual TV flaws such as plot holes and under developed characters but still being entertaining.

After being in an abusive relationship and having tried to take her own life Megan Walker (Shiri Appleby) has finally got her life back on track and with a new man, Woody (David Alpay - Closing the Ring) in her life all seems to be going great. But not long after getting married things start going wrong, forgetting what Woody tells her and misplacing things causes friends and family to be concerned about Megan as she starts to behave a little crazy. And when she starts accusing Woody of trying to make her crazy again no one believes her especially when it is discovered she has stopped taking her medication.

David Alpay in Unstable (2009)

Typically of a TV movie "Unstable" does have a very obvious weakness and that is a storyline which needs fleshing out. As such in the space of about 10 minutes it quickly establishes everything from Megan having been in therapy, her sister Samantha is really an adopted step sister and she has met & married Woody. It immediately means that we have thin characters which whilst we get to know more about as the movie goes on also means we have to accept plenty in order for the story to get to the main part.

Now that main part focuses on Megan beginning to lose the plot, having explained to Woody that her previous boyfriend was controlling and she tried to take her own life leading to a stay in a mental hospital. So we see little things start to happen, she loses her phone, misplaces her keys and according to Woody doesn't remember him telling her things. Now the success of this and it is a success early on is the element of doubt because we do initially wonder whether it is just Megan becoming paranoid, misplacing things and becoming forgetful or whether the seemingly caring Woody is trying to drive her crazy. It doesn't take long before you realise what is happening but for a little while that element of maybe works well.

But whilst all this toying of Megan as strange things keep on going on is entertaining it is a weakness in the script which causes you to groan. For example Megan's parents just happen to own a security company who have devised a camera which fits into a notice board pin, it is so highlighted that you know at some point Megan will use the pin camera to try and prove she is not crazy. And as for the twist, oh yes there is a twist, it is both a shock and not a shock because there is absolutely no suggestion of the twist but when it happens it is the sort of thing you expect from a TV movie which isn't properly fleshed out.

So basically the storyline to "Unstable" is ironically unstable but also what you expect from a TV movie and so is the acting. There is plenty of shakiness; those in pivotal supporting roles feel like they are reading from cue cards and sometimes the main actors seem to be doing the same. But Shiri Appleby as Megan is well cast because she not only has the cuteness which makes us want to protect her when she is at her most vulnerable but Shiri does a reasonable job of getting across the state of confusion and the feeling that everyone thinks she is going crazy again.

What this all boils down to is that "Unstable" is a solid TV movie which delivers a reasonable storyline about a woman being made to think she is going crazy. Big screen movies which use a similar idea are better but as TV movies go "Unstable" is not bad.

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