Without Her Consent (1990)

Melissa Gilbert in Without Her Consent (1990)

What is Consent

Emily Briggs (Melissa Gilbert - Forbidden Nights) leaves her home in Idaho for a new life in LA with her boyfriend Trey (Barry Tubb) due to follow on in a couple of weeks once he has finished his film school thesis. With the help of her cousin Marty (Crystal Bernard) she finds an apartment, not in the greatest area but an affordable one with some friendly neighbours such as Jason Barnes (Scott Valentine) who offers to show her around. But it turns out Jason has ulterior motives and when he gets her alone at his under the pretence he is selling a table he rapes her which when Emily reports him to the police are unable to do a thing as she was at his of her own free will. When Trey learns he takes matters into his own hands and runs Jason over leading to his arrest and a strain on their relationship. But when she is approached by another woman who says she has been raped by Jason they may have a chance of getting justice.

"Without Her Consent" is one of those TV movies which are a dime a dozen, a TV movie inspired by a true story surrounding a woman who is raped and her battle for justice in a system which basically says she wasn't raped. Now any movie which tells the story of a rape is an important one whether inspired by a true story or not the trouble with "Without Her Consent" is that it doesn't show you anything you won't have seen in a dozen other TV movies. Not only that, rather that going in depth in to the legal matters surrounding proving rape it is a simplistic movie about good and bad.

Scott Valentine in Without Her Consent (1990)

Being simplistic is not the only problems which "Without Her Consent" has as in failing to deliver depth it ends up feeling cliche. From the coldness of the cops to Emily taking a shower after being raped it is nothing new and so it all sadly feels familiar. Even the conflict and strain on the relationship ends up feeling cliche.

That familiarity extends to many of the characters especially those which are supporting characters such as the cops. And that also extends to Scott Valentine's performance as Jason as he plays it as cocky and conniving but with no depth beneath the facade. But in truth the reason why many will now watch "Without Her Consent" over 20 years after it was made is because it stars Melissa Gilbert who gives another one of her calm, controlled performances which stands out from the rest of the performances in a good way.

What this all boils down to is that "Without Her Consent" whilst inspired by a true story of rape tells it in a simplistic good & bad sort of way instead of exploring the depth of the situation and the legal system.