Keeping it in the Family
Sheriff Tom Thielman (Beau Bridges - Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure) is out doing his usual late night business, which is making sure that any amorous teens up at make out point are using protection, when he hears over the radio that there is an incident at his parent's farm. When he arrives there he finds his mother, Carol (Dorothy Dean Bridges), dead in the basement laundry room, presumably having fallen down the stairs and whilst his men do their business he finds his father, Louis (Lloyd Bridges - Blown Away), out in the back seemingly emotionally confused. Whilst the medical examiner believes she had a heart attack leading to her fall there is something which to Tom doesn't add up as he finds cigarettes stained with lipstick in his father's truck and then during the funeral his father says he killed her. As Tom finds himself looking for some sort of proof of foul play he finds himself becoming a pariah of the town as many can't believe he suspects his well respected father of murder.
One of the first things which catches your attention when it comes to "Secret Sins of the Father" is that it stars father and son Lloyd and Beau Bridges. Those in the know or at least more observant will see that Beau's son Jordan is in the movie and that is also his real mother, Dorothy Dean Bridges, playing his mother in the movie. It does make you wonder whether the part of Tom's brother in this was offered to Beau's brother Jeff or whether any other of the Bridges family was considered for roles to make this even more of a family affair. Truth be told whilst the family connection adds to the movie's draw it doesn't actually add much to the storyline.
But focusing on the Bridges connection to "Secret Sins of the Father" actually does the movie a disservice because it genuinely has this interesting storyline which evolves with some twists. Without giving too much away Tom discovers that his father was having a relationship with the woman which Tom cheated on his own wife with. And there are more revelations and twists which makes the murder of Mrs. Thielman a curious one. But on top of that we have the consequences of Tom's actions as not only does he find the town ganging up against him but his wife leaves him and he ends up fighting his own brother. As such the storyline ends up grabbing you a lot more than you might expect especially as there always seems to be another shocking twist, although some of them end up feeling far fetched.
What this all boils down to is that "Secret Sins of the Father" whilst having the gimmick of it starring various members of the Bridges family also has a good storyline with a nice, if some what far fetched, series of twists and revelations which draws you in more than any of the characters does. Having said all that it is also a pretty typical mid 90s TV movie with the sort of soundtrack which is now cheesy especially when it comes to obligatory bedroom scenes.