Fleischer's modest first feature, about a child's reaction to divorce, is a beauty. Lillie Hayward's script, based on a play (Wednesday's Child by Leopold L Atlas), avoids all the pitfalls of special pleading. Both parents (Toomey and Meredith) want what is best for the child; their new partners are genuine in their desire to become friends; but the child herself, partly because of innocent teasing at school, mainly because she just can't understand, remains obstinately unaccommodating. The only solution, therefore, is boarding school: not some Dickensian horror, but a gracious, spacious place in the country boasting every amenity a child could desire. And there, in a nakedly moving final sequence, the child learns, under the sympathetic tutelage of a new friend who has been through the mill, what to expect: a time when presents come thick and fast; a time when visits grow fewer and fewer; and then, just the long, long wait to grow up. Fleischer puts scarcely a foot wrong, and the kids (Sharyn Moffett as the unhappy child, Ann Carter as her friend) are astonishing.
Child of Divorce
Cast and crew