WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH: THE LOIS WILSON STORY
Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +1
RELEASE: Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on CBS-TV
TIME: 120 minutes with commercials
STARRING: Winona Ryder, Barry Pepper, John Bourgeois, and Rosemary Dunsmore
CONTENT: (CCC, BBB, L, V, N, AAA, D, MM) Very strong theocentric Christian, moral worldview that only God can deliver someone from alcoholism with lots of mentions of God, prayer, and biblical references, as well as shots of the cross and Bible but no mention of Jesus; one obscenity; television type violence includes woman has two miscarriages, woman dies of cancer, drunk thrown out of a bar, drunk crashes through door, drunk hallucinates and throws things around his room, and similar incidences; kissing and hugging but no sex; upper male nudity; extreme alcoholism; extreme smoking; and, man continually lies to his wife.
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Older children and adults
REVIEWER: Dr. Ted Baehr
REVIEW: WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH is a very emotional story of Lois Wilson, the founder of Al-Anon and suffering wife of Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The movie opens on July 1, 1917 with Lois in voice over commenting that her well-to-do New York family vacationed in Vermont, where she met the very down-home Bill Wilson. Two years later, they marry just before he goes off to war, against her father’s advice. When he returns, he gets a job with her friend’s Wall Street firm, but it is increasingly clear that he is an alcoholic.
Lois becomes so stressed that she miscarries. She demands he make a pledge on the Bible that he won’t drink any more, but Bill keeps breaking his promises.
In the Great Depression, Bill loses all of the family’s money. Lois starts to walk out on Bill, but her mother says she promised to stay with him in sickness and health and that she can overcome through patience and prayer. Years later, times have changed, and her mother says she gave Lois bad advice.
Bill eventually understands he must confess his alcoholism, and it’s only by the power of God that he can be delivered. He develops the famous 12-Step AA program, but Lois is furious that she could not save him without other help. So, she has a choice of either turning to God or being resentful and angry. She finds that the wives of the alcoholics all feel the same way.
Winona Ryder does a wonderful job as Lois Wilson. She is a model of a long-suffering, dedicated, faithful wife. For that reason alone, the movie is worth watching. The movie clearly makes the point that we cannot deliver ourselves, but need God’s grace.
The art design, direction and acting are superb in WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH. Some of the movie’s timeframe overlaps my youth, and the filmmakers capture the feel and nature of society just the way it was. The only missing element is that the movie never talks about Jesus, though it quotes the New Testament and makes the Bible a central focus, and shows that God is the most important ingredient in anyone’s life.
WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH is very highly commended for older children and anyone struggling with problems in their life. It is not easy watching and yet it is captivating. It made the reviewer weep for joy.
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Brad Moore, President
Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions
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Phone: (818) 505-9191
Fax: (818) 505-9842
SDIRECTOR: John Kent Harrison
PRODUCERS: Terry Gould
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Brent Shields
SUPERVISING PRODUCER: Suzanne Berger
WRITER: William G. Borchert and Camille Thomasson
BASED ON THE BOOK BY: William G. Borchert
DISTRIBUTOR: Hallmark Hall of Fame