Lifetime Review: 'The Midwife's Deception'
An overwhelmed pregnant woman unknowingly invites a deranged psychopath into her life in this dry-as-can-be Lifetime film.
Pregnancy is hairy in real life as well as the Lifetimeverse. Though after watching as many movies as I have, I can say Lifetimeverse ladies have it worse. They don't just have to deal with morning sickness, weight gain, and endless doctor appointments; they also have to contend with a multitude of psychotic women just waiting for the opportunity to claim another woman's baby as her own.
This is the case for seven months pregnant woman Sara (Katie Savoy). An aspiring lawyer who has just moved from the city to the small town where her husband Daniel (Billy Armstrong) grew up, Sara is desperate to make friends and find relief from the stress of her pregnancy as she prepares to take the bar exam. That's why it comes as a such a relief to her when she meets professional midwife Jina (Penelope Mitchell), who acts as a supportive wing for the stressed out, fish-out-of-water Sara. But as Sara begins to branch out and make new friends in her new surroundings, it starts to become clear (at least to the audience) that Jina has ulterior motives for befriending Sara....
It's not a good sign that, at a point, the only thing keeping me from turning off the movie was acting eye candy. Like High School Lover, the plot for The Midwife's Deception has been done many times before on Lifetime, and done much better. Much of the film goes into painstakingly unnecessary detail to show Jina working her mind games on the vulnerable Sara, with none of her methods sparking any audience interest. If anything, they will only call attention to how unoriginal and lackluster the plot truly is. Apart from the film's genuinely tense climax with a satisfying conclusion, the plot for The Midwife's Deception is dry and color-by-numbers, making the movie a chore to sit through without dozing off.
The casting for the movie, however, is pretty well done, which unfortunately makes the film's dull plot even more disappointing. Katie Savoy makes for a likable protagonist, playing a much more believable victim than most Lifetime heroines. New to a small town with a hectic life unfolding around her, it's understandable that Sara would be desperate for relief from the stresses of her changing life and thus become vulnerable to a malevolent person's manipulations. Billy Armstrong also makes for a good protagonist, with a certain scene where Sara presents him with his childhood teddy bear being a very sincere and sweet scene. Ultimately, though, Penelope Mitchell brings the movie together, with her solid portrayal of the unhinged Jina coming to a crescendo in the climax, where she becomes almost diabolical in her cold-hearted claims about her victims (particularly Sara).
Sadly, though, none of the acting talents found within The Midwife's Deception can salvage the film's horrendously slow and uninteresting plot. It's always tragic when actors are stranded in a movie where they are given nothing to work with. For all of the effort the film's cast puts into their performances, the maddeningly slow and dull pace of The Midwife's Deception will likely prevent many from sticking around for the whole run time. Even the most hardcore Lifetime fans might be unable to stop themselves from sticking around for the whole movie. Hopefully, the stars of this feature will get the chance to work on better films soon and Lifetime will relegate The Midwife's Deception to the dark corners of their catalog. This is sadly another dud from MarVista Entertainment, and I can only hope that this will help the company learn from their mistakes to produce the kind of material that I've witnessed first hand that they're capable of creating.
Score: 3 out of 10 childhood teddy bears.