Not That Softly
Seemingly out of nowhere Sara Thornton (Maggie O'Neill) plunges a knife into her sleeping husband's stomach in the hope of killing him. As if nothing major happened and rather callously she continues as normal, cooking, cleaning, calling the police. And much to the police's curiosity Sara is matter of fact about what she has done as she is taken to the police station where she learns that her husband has died and she is being charged with his murder which leads to her breakdown. It is then she reminisces back to just two years earlier when she met her future husband, an ex copper, in a pub and a seemingly nice guy.
The best part of "Killing Me Softly" is the beginning and the almost delirious obliviousness of Sara when it comes to what she has done. It is slightly intriguing in how she calls the emergency services and matter of factly tells them she has stabbed her husband only then to go about doing some housework and even flirting with one of the cops when they show up. Unfortunately "Killing Me Softly" goes all down hill from then on and we get the first flashback of Sara meeting Malcolm.
I say goes down hill not out of disrespect for what this movie is about but because it is a theme which is covered quite frequently in movies, especially those which are made for TV and so what we have is a routine drama about domestic abuse, one based on a true story. We see how to start with Malcolm is nice but then the chinks begin to show as he is controlling and then violent but then feels guilty afterwards. From this sense "Killing Me Softly" offers up nothing new when compared to other made for TV movies about domestic abuse.
But what we also have with "Killing Me Softly" is a British made for TV movie and it is frankly more graphic than many of its American counterparts with nudity and violence. But what we also have running in tandem with the flashback of the relationship is the aftermath of Sara's actions with her ending up in court and being questioned over her past, previous relationships and so on. It gives "Killing Me Softly" just that little bit of difference to other similar movies.
What this all boils down to is that "Killing Me Softly" is a movie of two halves with a typical side as it dramatizes domestic abuse but it also has another side involving the aftermath of a woman pushed to the edge by the treatment of her husband. It is the latter side, the courtroom questioning which makes "Killing Me Softly" intriguing.