BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD
Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3
RELEASE: April 24, 2011 at 9 p.m. on CBS-TV
TIME: 95 minutes
STARRING: Emily VanCamp, Steve Talley, Isabella Acres, Treat Williams, Timothy Busfield, Liam McKanna, Paola Andino, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Nicki Aycox, Kiersten Warren
DIRECTOR: Jeff Bleckner
PRODUCERS: Andrew Gottlieb
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Brent Shields, Gerald R. Molen
WRITER: Camille Tomasson
BASED ON THE BOOK BY: Stacey Best
DISTRIBUTOR: Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions
CONTENT: (BBB, C, A, M) Very strong moral worldview with a few positive references to faith, extolling love, perseverance, commitment, and caring for the homeless and needy; no foul language but the word b-u-t-t is used in a mild way; no real violence but there’s jeopardy in a poor side of town; no sex; no nudity; references to alcohol; no smoking; and, minor arguing and lice.
INTENDED AUDIENCE: All ages
REVIEWER: Dr. Ted Baehr
REVIEW: BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD is one of the best-written television movies from Hallmark.
It’s the fascinating true story of Stacey Best, a young girl from a dysfunctional home, who finds refuge in school, and, as a consequence, she wants to be a teacher. Regrettably, she’s forced to quit school at 16 years old, but she manages to come back to finish years later.
The school system administrator assigns her to a non-traditional, make shift school for homeless students, literally next to the railroad tracks.
The school is not what Stacey expected. When the train passes, everything falls over. There are no desks; there are no books; and, the children are starving. Furthermore the parents come and go, and the children have developed a cynical, angry attitude about life.
Stacey wants to give up, but she doesn’t want her own children to see her quit. So, she sticks it out. Through kindness, compassion and wisdom, she starts to reach the children. Her story is one of overcoming against all odds.
BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD is a heart-wrenching movie that will make you laugh and cry. Stacey Best’s story is one of overcoming against all odds. Her love for the children is so strong that viewers will fall in love with each one of them. Without the restrictions of years of teaching, she uses her intelligence to overcome insurmountable obstacles.
This movie is well directed, well produced, well acted. It seems incredibly real and at times very frightening, but there’s no foul language and no overt violence. This movie is a testimony to what great writing can do. Hallmark is to be commended again for a wonderful movie.
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Brad Moore, President
Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions
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Phone: (818) 505-9191; Fax: (818) 505-9842