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Lifetime Review: 'Til Death Do Us Part'

by Trevor Wells 4 years ago in review
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Haylie Duff gets married to a psycho in perhaps Lifetime's worst "tainted love" flick.

Poor Haylie Duff can't catch a break with Lifetime, it seems. Apart from 2012's Home Invasion and a borderline case with the more recent The Bachelor Next Door, it seems hardly any of her movies are as entertaining or thrilling as some of the better movies Lifetime has put out. It's a shame, too, since Duff has proved herself in many of her movies that she's capable of great acting; it's just that many times, the movies she's given leave her with little to work with.

In this movie, she plays Sarah, an elementary school teacher who has just gotten married to Kevin Richardson (Ty Olsson), a wealthy doctor she's only known for six months (insert face palm for any seasoned Lifetime fan). But in Sarah's eyes, Kevin is perfect: handsome (debatable), has a promising career and lovely home, and is attentive to Sarah's heart problems.

But it doesn't take long for Sarah to notice the red flags about her new hubby; he becomes progressively more controlling over Sarah, allows his sister Jolene (Magda Apanowicz) to take over renovating their home after disliking the color Sarah paints the walls, and becomes jealous of Sarah's friend and fellow teacher Ethan (a woefully underused Zak Santiago), who is shortly afterwards accused of child molestation. When a string of deaths happen around Sarah, she becomes convinced Kevin has something to do with it, but no one around her seems to believe it. Now it's up to Sarah to discover the truth before she becomes next on her new husband's chopping block.

Lifetime's had a history of dry and cliched movies, but Til Death Do Us Part takes the cake. The plot is the "I married a nutcase" theme that Lifetime has gotten very acquainted with over the years, stripped down to its bare bones in the most trite and lethargic way possible. The story moves at a snail's pace, with very little of substance happening prior to the film's painfully unsatisfactory conclusion, which leaves so many unanswered questions in its wake that it could be qualified as a massacre against storytelling.

The actors try as they might, but it's never enough to bring the movie out of the pits of despair it threw itself into. Haylie Duff is likable enough as the unwitting Sarah, even if her intelligence seems to change in the end to fulfill the plot's needs. Ty Olsson also gives an attempt at a good performance, though the script sadly gives him little to do with Kevin's bland and largely unexplained psychosis (with the same applying to Magda Apanowicz's performance as his sister, who also has secrets of her own). The surprising shining beacon in the acting department was Zak Santiago, whose brief performance as Sarah's friend Ethan is surprisingly authentic and so likable that you'll be sad that his character is shafted so badly.

Remarkably, though, despite having an immensely simplistic plot, the writers of 'Til Death Do Us Part manage the impossible: they leave so many open ends and unexplained motivations that they manage to bungle even the most basic of all Lifetime conventions. And when I say remarkable, I mean remarkable in the same way that it's remarkable that a certain orange tinted ex-reality star is now leader of an entire country.

Despite all its problems, 'Til Death Do Us Part could've been a good movie had it gotten the proper effort from the people creating it. Even if this movie had top grade acting talent, it wouldn't matter when they're crippled by a weak script and underdeveloped characters. It's one of the weaker additions to Lifetime's movie roster, and a movie that sadly will most likely be used to reaffirm many a hater's belief that Lifetime is nothing more than a televised schlock factory. Thankfully, Lifetime has plenty of movies to counteract those arguments...

Score: 1 out of 10 gauzy nightmare sequences.

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About the author

Trevor Wells

Aspiring writer and film blogger: Lifetime, Hallmark, indie, and anything else that strikes my interest. He/him.

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Twitter: @TrevorWells98

Instagram: @trevorwells_16

Email: [email protected]

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