Julia Ormond and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali star in the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) presentation The Wronged Man. The film, which is based on a true story, tells how one woman fought for years to free a man wrongly accused of rape. This is one of the best original movies LMN has ever featured and its story will impress and touch audiences around the country.
Prissy Gregory (Ormond) was working as a paralegal/secretary for a lawyer in Louisiana when she first heard of the case of Calvin Willis (Ali). Her employer told her it was a case full of injustices and she found that to be true. From that point on Prissy did everything she could to work to have Willis exonerated.
It was not until years later when DNA testing became possible that Willis was finally set free from prison. He had served twenty-two years. During that time his children had grown up and his father had died.
This movie recounts the emotional, mental and physical anguish it took for Prissy Gregory to achieve her goal. She had a compulsion to work on Willis' case and it took its toll on her and her family. Still she persisted even when everyone told her to stop, and even when Willis' anger flared up against her.
Ormond is excellent in the role of Prissy. She has an earthiness about her that has heretofore not been seen, and she speaks with a flat southern accent that falls naturally from her lips. This is not the Ormond who flitted through "Sabrina" but rather a woman who has immersed herself in a role.
Ali is equally good. He manages to convey both the spirit and the anguish of this wrongly convicted man. Willis knows he is innocent and just can't understand why everyone else doesn't accept that. He went through a lot of pain during these twenty-two years and Ali brings life to each and every emotion.
We hear it over and over again that truth is stranger than fiction. If "The Wronged Man" were not a true story it would be unbelievable. And even knowing it is true still strains the credubility of our individual minds.
For a film that packs a wallop you must watch The Wronged Man. It airs on the Lifetime Movie Network on Sunday, January 17 at 8PM, with a repeat performance on Monday, January 18 at 8PM.
Jackie K. Cooper - www.jackiekcooper.com