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Kate's Secret
     

Kate's Secret

Director: Arthur A. Seidelman

Cast: Meredith Baxter-Birney, Liz Torres, Ed Asner

 
In this made-for-TV movie, Meredith Baxter plays Kate, a homemaker who suffers from the eating disorder bulimia. On the surface, slim, attractive Kate's life seems perfect. Her husband, Jack (Ben Masters), is a successful lawyer, while her daughter, Becky, a Junior Girl Scout, adores her. But between strenuous workouts and gossip sessions with Gail (Shari Belafonte),

Overview

In this made-for-TV movie, Meredith Baxter plays Kate, a homemaker who suffers from the eating disorder bulimia. On the surface, slim, attractive Kate's life seems perfect. Her husband, Jack (Ben Masters), is a successful lawyer, while her daughter, Becky, a Junior Girl Scout, adores her. But between strenuous workouts and gossip sessions with Gail (Shari Belafonte), her best friend and personal trainer, Kate binges on junk food and then purges by vomiting. Any stressful situation can set off these bulimic episodes, and Kate has three separate sources of aggravation to deal with: Jack is about to make partner in his firm; Monica (Leslie Bevis), another lawyer, is making a play for Jack; and Kate's controlling mother (Georgann Johnson) has just arrived for an extended visit. Soon, Kate's vomiting spirals out of control as she binges everywhere from a grocery-store dairy aisle to her own suburban kitchen. One afternoon, weak from lack of food and too much exercise, Kate crashes her car, almost killing herself and Becky. Soon an eating-disorder specialist, Dr. Resnick (Edward Asner), reveals Kate's secret to her husband and mother, and Kate must enter a clinic to face her demons in the company of the other bulimics and anorexics. Her roommate, Patch (Tracy Nelson), a gorgeous young model, teaches Kate the therapeutic ropes, but the road to healing isn't as smooth as either woman would like. Kate's Secret premiered on November 17, 1986. In addition to Family and Family Ties star Baxter and Mary Tyler Moore Show vet Asner, Kate's Secret featured fellow sitcom survivor Mackenzie Phillips, of One Day at a Time fame, as another clinic patient.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Released in the mid-'80s, just as eating disorders were taking their place at the center of talk-show and water-cooler discourse, Kate's Secret provided a sympathetic portrayal of a bulimic by casting beloved sitcom star Meredith Baxter in the lead role. Meticulous but low-key, the actress was the perfect choice for portraying the victim of a titillating disease without turning the proceedings into a freakshow. The film works best in its early scenes, which delineate the pressures of the protagonist's privileged middle-class life and reveal the methodology of Kate's disease. Conspiracy-theory camera angles and cheap, yet effective audio cues help the filmmakers portray bulimic episodes as a sort of altered reality not so very different from a psychedelic drug trip. Scenes of Kate engaging in frenzied pastry-scarfing and endless trips to burger and pizza joints effectively portray the nasty particulars of the disease even as they verge on campy voyeurism. The film lapses into self-help truisms, however, when it shifts to its hospital scenes. Edward Asner's cocky shrink would probably be sued for invasion of privacy in real life, and on the basis of his half-baked Freudian analysis, he'd no doubt get slapped with a malpractice suit, too. By explaining away a complex mental and physical disorder with pat little clichés about troubled childhoods, Kate's Secret does the victims of its subject no favors. Still, the cast of malcontents who make up the hospital's eating disorder ward -- including real-life substance abuser Mackenzie Phillips -- get a few good scenes to play. If you can stomach the main character's final breakdown ("Now you really are invisible, Patch!"), Kate's Secret is a better-than-average TV movie that gives serious treatment to a subject that's more often, as in Heathers, the butt of vicious jokes.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/01/2012
UPC:
0043396401334
Original Release:
1986
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures Home
Sales rank:
42,449

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Meredith Baxter-Birney Actor
Liz Torres Actor
Ed Asner Doctor Resnick
Shari Belafonte Gail
Leslie Bevis Monica
Georgann Johnson Faith
Ben Masters Jack
Tracy Nelson Patch
MacKenzie Phillips Actor

Technical Credits
Arthur A. Seidelman Director
Stephanie Austin Producer
Andrea Baynes Executive Producer
John Beckman Art Director
Ross Bellah Art Director
Dennis Dalzell Cinematographer
Denise DeGarmo Screenwriter
Grady Hunt Costumes/Costume Designer
Millie Moore Editor
Robert A. Papazian Producer
J. Peter Robinson Score Composer
Susan Seeger Executive Producer,Screenwriter

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