Learning Difficulty





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Mental Illness: Major Films   no photo.
TitleWithout Consent (1994) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title1. Trapped and Deceived 2. Tell Laura I Love Her
GenreHospital drama
DirectorRobert Iscove
CastJennie Garth Jill Eikenberry Tom Irwin
NotesA teenager, Laura (Garth), isn't doing well at school, has an unapproved boyfriend and is generally under pressure from her parents to do well. When she has a car crash while driving under the influence her parents have her admitted to an Adolescent Treatment Centre. There Laura is suddenly in confrontation with a very strict regime. At one point she is strapped in a wheelchair (which is one occasion "wheelchair-bound" is appropriate). The young people are given numbers to indicate what state of privileges they have attained. Privileges include talking to another patient. And ultimate non-conformity is treated with pacifying drugs. Laura escapes and returns to her parents where she tells them what kind a regime it is but the Centre's staff are waiting for her. The parents disbelieve their daughter and the implicit message is that the experts know best. Taken back to the Centre Laura is strapped to a bed and injected with drugs. Laura is told she won't be released until she admits she needs help. She caves in and as she talks to the other patients she discovers that the length of stay at the centre depends on the parents' insurance cover. Release being referred to by one patient as "insurance deficit syndrome". When her father decides to get her out of the centre he is met with the official reply he needs his wife signature as well. But his wife is too involved in her job. Laura with another patient who turns out to be an investigator for an outside agency get into the records office and discover an insurance scam is being run. The end brings together the exposure of this scam and a tentative reconciliation with her parents. Though she stills leaves home to live with her brother who had already been kicked out for thieving from his parents. Things are looking up but it's not a sloshy, happy ending. Jill Eikenberry is one of those elite who have camp beds at the Made for TV studios but the onus of the acting is on Jennie Garth. She's nothing special but does her stuff. And the other inmates hardly materialise except one who later commits suicide. I'd like to recommend this film if only it showed that the patients were receiving some kind of treatment other than the negative. This film may give a true representation but to me it appears wholly one-sided and the reality usually isn't like that.

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