Lifetime TV review: Reviving Ophelia

Elizabeth: I’m so happy you’re going to be my first.
Mark: I want to be your only. Ever.

Teenage infatuation and first love becomes obsessive and dangerous in this timely Lifetime Movie Channel original Reviving Ophelia. It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month and teens are victims of abuse too. Reviving Ophelia focuses on two sisters, Marie (Jane Kaczmarek) and Le Ann (Kim Dickens), who are very close and share experience and support each other in raising their very different teenage daughters. Marie’s 17-year-old Elizabeth (Rebecca Williams) is the dark-haired “goody two shoes” teen who has her first boyfriend. Mark charms Elizabeth’s parents and seems like a clean-cut “nice” boy. Meanwhile, single parent Le Ann is raising 16-year-old Kelli (Carleigh Beverly) is the blonde-haired wild teen who’s experimented with oral sex, has a bit of a reputation around school, skips classes and endlessly worries her mother.

Soon Mark becomes demanding of Elizabeth’s time. He constantly texts her and wants to know where she is and what she’s doing at all times. He’s possessive. Then he starts to hit her. Elizabeth lies and hides it from her parents. As initially occurs with most abuse victims, Elizabeth blames herself for provoking Mark or not being a good enough girlfriend. Kelly, who is in high school with her cousin, sees more than Elizabeth realizes but unfortunately neither her mother nor aunt believe her. They actually initially believe that Kelly is a bad influence. I watched this Lifetime movie with my mom as I often do. She said: “This is like a mansion house. Four car garage. These movies are so unrealistic.” Sure, it’s a lavish residence that Elizabeth lives in. I think the point that Reviving Ophelia (based on the best-selling book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, by Mary Pipher) tries to drive home is that abuse can happen anywhere to anyone. It’s a dark but necessary film to watch.

Airs October 16 and 17 on Lifetime Movie Network

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