COUCH POTATO PICKINGS

On Five US today at 5pm

this movie. Is it just me or do TV movies and sick days go hand in hand?

Before today’s variety of channels became available, if you wanted to watch a movie during the day, you were usually forced to watch a TV movie since all the channels held their more cinematic films back for the evenings and weekends when larger viewing figures could be guaranteed.

I wonder if my TV movie sickbed habit derives from the familiarity of this historical experience or whether the undemanding nature of the TV movie is indeed more appropriate for the unwell?

Whatever the reason, I was actually very surprised by this film. I’m certainly not a snob about TV movies – they have their place and there are loads of great ones out there – but with a title like Mom at Sixteen, my hopes weren’t terribly high for this one.

Why weren’t my hopes high? Well, I suppose being British and far from being a teenager, I didn’t feel that I’d be likely to empathize with a story about an American teen and their problems with pregnancy and motherhood. How wrong I was. This film had me hooked from the start. Danielle Panabaker gives an amazing performance as Jacey, the 16-year-old kid who finds herself expecting a baby. Far from being your Vicki Pollard type of teen, she comes across as a smart and sensitive kid (although not smart enough to use birth control). She confides in a counsellor (Ally McBeal’s Jane Krakowski), who, in pure TV movie style, just so happens to be desperate to have a child of her own but is having no success with IVF.

Yeah, you can guess how it pans out, but you know what, it had me in floods of tears by the end. I even watched it again when it was repeated later that same week, although admittedly it’s possible that such repetitious behaviour was brought on by a feverish state rather than a genuine desire to revisit a great movie.