A Special Son
Tammy (Tracy Nelson - The Wrong Child) and her mother Lucille (Patty Duke - Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive) have had a difficult relationship and she is not alone as her brother and sister have also struggled with their pushy mother who likes to get her own way. But with Tammy expecting twins Lucille hopes it will bring them closer together. When Tammy goes through a difficult labour with one of the babies being born with Down Syndrome things turn out differently. Having tried to be a mother to both children Tammy and her husband decide it is too much for them to cope with and they take the tough decision to put the child with Down Syndrome in with a family who specializes in raising children who need extra care. But in doing so it enrages Lucille who decides to fight and try to block the adoption of her grandchild leading to the family becoming even more divided.
If you had a child which needed extra care and you knew that whilst you could give them the love but not the care needed would you give it up to someone else who was better equipped to do so? That is the question posed in "No Child of Mine" as we see Tammy and her husband make the tough decision that their Down Syndrome son would be better off with a family who could give him everything he needs. But we also see the other side of the argument as Tammy's mother believes that you find a way to do the best for that child and the whole family. It is an interesting debate and "No Child of Mine" is a smartly written TV movie which explores both sides of this situation.
What we also get in "No Child of Mine" is an interesting look at family conflict which quickly sets itself up via the character of Lucille, so marvellously played by Patty Duke. On one hand Duke makes her a traditional family woman who believes family should stay together but at the same time the domineering nature she gives her makes her come across as harsh and controlling. Tracy Nelson plays off of this brilliantly as the quieter and stressed daughter who wants her mother's approval but never seems able to meet her standards or do as her mother wants. This makes for an interesting conflict which ends up heading to the courtroom as Lucille sets about stopping Tammy from giving her child up for adoption. It does get a bit soap opera-ish as things escalate but it is a well written and mostly a well rounded drama.
It is worth mentioning that whilst Patty Duke and Tracy Nelson are the stars of the movie the supporting performances are first rate. This is especially the case as the family end up divided over Tammy's decision and their mother's reaction with G.W. Bailey delivering a quietly supportive performance as Lucille's husband.
What this all boils down to is that "No Child of Mine" is another one of those TV movies which whilst not perfect thrive on a well written story and two above average performances with Patty Duke and Tracy Nelson making the movie engrossing.