Amy Madigan, Love Child

Saturday, November 22, 2014

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Stanley Kauffmann

“….Obviously I'm saving the best for last. The girl is played by Amy Madigan, who is making her screen debut (after some TV movies). Eighteen at the start, left on her own by family circumstances, this girl gets quite accidentally involved in an attempt at armed robbery. She is easily caught; and she pleads guilty on advice of counsel. The fact that she had no slightest criminal intent, the additional fact that she is given a stunningly heavy sentence, produce bitterness and a bitter fight to preserve self. Madigan, freckled, plain but winning, is simultaneously proud and pathetic, intense and vulnerable. A familiar phrase in the literature about acting is the Illusion of the First Time. It's usually applied to dialogue that has been memorized and rehearsed; in Madigan's case, it can be applied to her entire, fundamentally familiar role. She brings us news, human news.”

--Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic, December 30, 1982?

Carrie Rickey

“I don't like Love Child much, but it contains one gem: Amy Madigan's raw-nerve performance as the shiftless, cussin' Florida 19-year-old whose passive aggressive cycle first leads her to be her kid cousin's accomplice in a botched armed robbery and then to erupt, violently, in prison where she's been sentenced to the max….

“….. She's accessory to a crime but too naive about the judicial system to accept her punishment, which is cruel and unusual and meted out by a judge convinced that she's a criminal who's never been caught before. Guilty until proven guiltier. This situation gives the freckle-faced Madigan plenty of scope for her acting imagination. Hysterical anger is the naif's only self-protection, which exacerbates her sensitivity, no, her rawness, to both the miscarriage of justice and the unwanted homosexual advances she encounters in prison. Everything about her adjustment to life behind bars is compelling in a TV-drama sort of way, but the networks probably would have censored MacKenzie Phillips's pawing, raging bull-dyke performance as J.J., sister inmate….

“…. Madigan and Phillips are fine and affecting, but the story is more or less I Want to Live! from the embryo's point of view. P.S. I cried.”

Carrie Rickey, Village Voice, October 26, 1982

Janet Maslin

"Amy Madigan, a newcomer who plays Terry, makes her a raw-boned, angry tomboy at first; only gradually is the child-crying-out-for help side of the character revealed. Miss Madigan seems potentially a tough, unusual actress, but Mr. Peerce keeps her at full throttle so much of the time that the performance loses its force. Her wildeyed, furious mannerisms, at first quite arresting, become familiar long before they should. Miss Madigan isn't alone in this; all of the film's characters have a tendency to come on too strong and then wear out their welcomes. Even Mackenzie Phillips, who swaggers along in a ducktail haircut and describes herself as ''a married man,'' becomes positively humdrum before the film ends."

--Janet Maslin, New York Times, October 15, 1982

(Originally published by Intersections Nov. 22, 2014)