Meredith Baxter is one of the best dramatic television actresses ever to be on tv. She showed this beginning with her portrayal of Nancy on the highly acclaimded series FAMILY. Many know her for her turn as mom on FAMILY TIES but this show, though great, was a waste of her capabilities. This television movie DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN is an excellent example of what she is capable of.
This is not your typical television movie fare. This is a movie about addiction, how it can encompass and destroy your life and how hard recovery can be. It starts innocently enough. Meredith plays Mary Anne a nurse at a methodone clinic and after much persistence by one of the patients Guy (Stephen Lang) she goes on a date with him. He appears to have it together and seems to have some sobriety under his belt. They become a couple and eventually Mary Anne decides to experimemt and is also asked by Guy to steal drugs from the clinic. How this progression happens is very realistically shown.
Further plot line is unnecessary and would ruin the impact of this film for the viewer. Asddiction is a very serious illness and there are so many movies that merely use the subject for over the top drama. This film is so well researched and the process of getting to the point of addict, all an addict will do to get their fix and how their morals/ personality changes is expertly told. The danger of addiction is not lost in any way as the drama unfolds. The film gets very intense and with the high quality acting it has it is as if you are watching a documentary about addicts - they are so believable.
Meredith Baxter becomes Mary Anne here so fully it is a definite Emmy worthy performance. Stephen Lang is also superb. But my highest accolades go to those behind the camera for the crafting of a film that rises above that of a typical television melodrama and insteads gives us a hardcore, intense realistically based story on the seriousness of addiction that is much needed today.
This is one of the best televison movies you will ever see and Meredith Baxter will take you on a journey you will never forget.