Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
A young girl loses her mother and is sent to live with her grandmother. A familiar plot in many a Lifetime movie. But in the talented hands of writer/star Dorothy Tristan and director John Hancock, “The Looking Glass” becomes so much more.
Julie (a very talented Tarnow, making her film debut) is un-aware that she and her grandmother, Karen (the still beautiful Tristan) share a love for performing. Karen, like Tristan herself, was once a talented actress and when she overhears Julie singing she helps her prepare to audition for a local musical production. As the two begin to bond, Julie begins to bury the grief she feels. No longer feeling alone in the world, she takes up with a local boy (Griffin Carlson) and learns to once again enjoy her life.
In his four decade career, director Hancock has always excelled in smaller, personal films. From “Bang the Drum Slowly” to the Nick Nolte prison drama “Weeds,” Hancock manages to give the characters meaning, bringing them to the forefront of the story. He achieves that again here. The quiet scenes between Julie and Karen a deeply moving and heartfelt. You almost feel as if you are eavesdropping on a personal conversation. Hancock is helped by a well-written screenplay by star Tristan. The storyline offers many opportunities to travel into “movie of the week” territory but Tristan refuses to take that easy route, instead giving the film real dialogue and situations.
On-screen, the talent abounds. Young Miss Tarnow proves herself an up-and-coming talent to keep an eye on. Matching her is Tristan who, after a successful acting career in the 70s, makes a return to the big screen after a three decade break. She hasn’t missed a beat. As the holiday season ascends upon us, I hope you find the time to take a trip through “The Looking Glass.” You will be entertained by what you find.