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Nobody's Child

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Lee Grant

Mental health has been vastly misunderstood in the past, with many patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders undergoing severe anguish due to their ailments not being diagnosed properly. Marie Balter (Marlo Thomas) was one of these people, … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Lee Grant
Release Date: 1986
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Nobody's Child

Nobody’s Child - 1986

  • Jul 30, 2009
Pros: good script and outstanding acting by Marlo Thomas

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"No mommy's kisses and no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child"
~Hank Snow

The movie, Nobody’s Child, was adapted from a novel by the same name by writers Mary Gallagher and Ara Watson. The author of the autobiographical novel was Marie Balter, a former mental patient at Danvers State Hospital, MA. If the name, Danvers, sounds familiar, it was the setting for the movie Session 9, in 2001, as well as carrying its own baggage as a haunted hospital. Danvers has now, finally, been leveled to the ground, may the souls rest in peace.

Marie wasn’t so much a mental patient as she was a person that was misdiagnosed. It is unfortunate that she spent the majority of her life behind the walls of Danvers, a place she used to refer to as her home and the only place she felt safe.

She was abandoned at an early age by her mother, then adopted by a strict Italian family when she was around six years old. Life, though sometimes strange, was fairly peaceful with her adopted family until she started showing signs of maturing, around her early teen years. The adoptive mother, for whatever reasons she may have imagined, thought the proper way to treat the girl was to lock her out of the house, for the slightest infraction. Coupled with the many times she locked Marie in a closet as a young child, Marie started showing signs of anxiety, even depression. Attempting suicide at age 16, her adoptive parents put her in Danvers, where she resided for the next 20 years.

Fortunately a new doctor arrived on the scene, adjusting Marie’s medication, and helping her become a productive person. She left the institution to reside in the home of strangers, helping them with home chores and childcare, while attending college. And not just college, Harvard. She met and married a fellow patient, who suffered from manic-depressive disorder.

This film was based on actual events in Marie’s life, from early childhood until her placement as full-time administrator at Danvers. The part of Marie was artfully and dedicatedly done by Marlo Thomas. How she trained for this role, I have no idea, but she delivered it spot on and did it with a calm dignity. She was joined in the film by Kathy Baker as the young married woman, Lucy, that took her in to help with her family. Lucy’s husband is the one that encouraged Marie to attend college. Ms. Thomas won an Emmy, disevering it entirely, for her lead in this movie.

Nobody’s Child was directed by Lee Grant. It was nominated for 6 awards, winning four. It carries no rating but, considering the treatment at the hospital and the actions of the patients, I would avoid having children view the film. Of course, I leave that up to you.

This is an older film, but the quality of the work is quite good. The script was tight, and often intense. I applaud Marie’s achievements, and the work done by all in conjunction with this film.



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