Plot: Betty (Andrea Marcovicci) has just been beaten, robbed, and raped, but she feels like she is the criminal, based on how she has been treated. She has assisted the police in every she can, but feels like she wasn’t believed, at least until one piece of information linked her rape to several others. As it turns out, the man who attacked her has been on a spree of late, with numerous other victims. The man’s appearance was similar in all of the cases, but a raspy, whisper-like voice is what cemented a connection. Soon a man is brought in who matches the appearance of the suspect and while a lineup produced mixed results, most of the women pick him out of the group. He is Andy (Peter Coffield), a delivery driver who can’t account for his whereabouts during some of the crimes, but swears he is innocent. Andy’s lawyer is a shark who is on a winning streak, so he plans to do whatever he has to in order to get his client an acquittal. As Betty is forced to relive her rape in vivid detail and have her own personal life dragged through the mud, she starts to break down. The other accusers soon withdraw, unwilling to suffer a similar fate, leaving only Betty as the lone witness.
Entertainment Value: Rape is a topic that films and television have always struggled with, as it is such a sensitive issue and in truth, a topic that some people simply don’t want to think about. Cry Rape is one of television’s first attempts to open a channel of discussion and while it takes some odd paths at times, it also does an admirable job of presenting the issue. As we are with Betty when she is assaulted, then as she is grilled by police, and finally as she faces the courtroom, her perspective is easy to connect with and empathize with. As she doubts her own memories about her attacker, we do as well, even though we were also there and saw the man. If we doubt our own minds, then it is easy to understand the pressure and stress on Betty. The movie also looks at things from the perspective of the accused, as Andy presents a believable front and watching his life fall apart humanizes him as well. How loved ones react to rape is also looked at from both sides, as one victim’s husband seems to distance himself from his own wife, while Betty’s boyfriend is caring and supportive. By the same token, Andy faces doubt from his own mother, which of course causes him immense pain. A wild, Scooby Doo type finale seems a little out of place, but given the era and the likely need for closure for the viewers, I understand the approach taken. Cry Rape is not an easy movie to watch, but I think it presents a sensitive, important issue and does so in a way that is mostly free from melodrama.
No nakedness. This is a 70s made for television movie, so there’s no sleaze and given the tone of the movie, that makes sense regardless of the era. If you’re interested in the movie but worried about the rape scene itself, none of it is shown, instead the camera pans around the apartment to other things. So we are present and we know it happens, but none of the actual sexual assault is shown. No blood here, though the attacks can be intense, of course. The movie does have a wild chase toward the finale, in which an older police officer puts his ass on the line to catch a criminal. I felt for the old guy, as he looked on the verge of a heart attack throughout the chase, but he refused to give up and that was a cool sequence. The dialogue is serious, as you’d expect, but some wild lines still creep in at times. One of the victims argues with her husband, who is upset that another man slept with her, despite it being rape. This leads to high drama and some colorful lines, with the woman telling her husband that he stinks. Overall though, the movie takes a serious, respectful tone toward the material, though some of the characters aren’t as respectful toward the victims. Andy’s lawyer is a textbook slimy attorney, with the smile of a great white, for example. In terms of craziness, we have the quirky husband/wife drama, the old man police officer chase, some colorful characters, and the totally bonkers conclusion.
Overall Insanity: 4/10