If These Walls Could Talk (1996) from Tuna

HBO's If these Walls Could Talk was a group of three short films dealing with women in three generations, 1952, 1974 and 1996, each dealing with problem pregnancies. The common thread is that each story takes place in the same house, hence the title.


Anne Heche shows breasts and a shadow of bush in a bath scene for the only nudity in this film.

In 1952, pre Roe v. Wade, Demi Moore plays a widowed nurse, her Marine husband having been killed in Korea. His large Irish family has been helping her, but she gets pregnant in a moment of weakness with her dead husband's younger brother, the spitting image of her bereaved husband. She resorts to a back alley abortion, her only alternative, and she subsequently hemorrhages to death.

1974 has Sissy Spacek as an older wife and mother who is finally able to start college when her children are out of the house. She finds she is pregnant with a mid-life baby. Her husband wants the baby, but admits that it will stop most of their plans, such as his early retirement, sending their daughter to a private college, and her education. The daughter, very much a young feminist, wants her to have the abortion. Her best friend, faced with the same choice, had the abortion and has no regrets. After a lot of soul-searching, she decides to have the baby.

1996 is the most powerful of the three stories, at least for me. Anne Heche plays a young and starving architect who finds herself pregnant by her married boss. He gives her some money, and expects her to have the abortion. Her best friend and roommate (Jada Pinkett) doesn't believe in abortion, and is convinced the Heche really doesn't either. On her first trip to the clinic, Heche encounters a right to life group, and ends up not going through with it. The next day, she gathers her nerve, and goes back to the clinic, which is being attacked by a huge mob of right-to-lifers performing for the news cameras. She has the abortion, then a protester breaks in and shoots the doctor to death.

It is a balanced look at an important issue told in an interesting fashion, and performed by some top talent. It was followed by a sequel that may have been even better.

Scoop's notes:

(1) the 1996 segment was directed by Cher. It is the only thing she has ever directed.

(2) this is over the top on the chick-flick scale with a 1.7 differential. (Women score it 8.1 at IMDb, men 6.4)

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.8/10. In general, men think it is mediocre, women find it excellent.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. I think it is about as good as made for cable gets.

Return to the Movie House home page