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Hallmark's 'In From the Night' wins with Marcia Gay Harden
Hallmark Hall of Fame film next Sunday night features strong performance by Marcia Gay Harden.

Date published: 4/16/2006

By ROB HEDELT

IN MOST films that examine the challenges faced by someone with problems in his or her life, be they physical or mental, there's a helper or hero who stands tall for them.

That's the case in the Hallmark Hall of Fame's "In From the Night" next Sunday, April 23, at 9 p.m..

Two things make the latest Hallmark film special: the fact that the hero is played by the superb actress Marcia Gay Harden.

And the fact that her character, in many ways, is just as flawed as the nephew she tries to save.

Things start out a little strangely, with shots of an exhausted youth walking through farm fields and down deserted roads set against a number of bright hot air balloons.

But soon enough we get to the heart of the issue: Young Bobby (Taylor Handley from "The O.C.") has fled his mentally impaired parents, seeking refuge with his loving aunt Vicki (Harden).

To say that this is a troubled youth would be understating things hugely.

Raised by parents who didn't know right from wrong or how to care for a child, Bobby is withdrawn, sullen, scared, jumpy and beset with the sort of night terrors you don't often see on television.

Vicki, an aspiring author--we get the feeling she's the one who eventually tells this whole tale in a novel--isn't ready for this sort of thing.

Having lost attachments to her beloved brother when his mental illness became worse, Vicki has carved out an existence for herself that works, though it's hardly warm and full.

She has two dogs, and a few friends at the school where she teaches.

But she has trouble dealing with real emotion, either in the first novel she's struggled with or the writing coach (Thomas Gibson) who clearly has feelings for her.

But raised by parents who had alcohol and control issues, and then having lived through a bruising custody battle where Bobby was removed from his parents' care, only to be reclaimed after a nasty court fight, Vicki has clearly stepped away from family and feelings altogether.


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