Appropriate Adult (2011) Tv Series Dvd Review
Director: Julian Jarrold
Starring: Emily Watson, Dominic West and Monica Dolan
UK – Drama 180 min.
Reviewed by Char Hardin
3.5 Out of 5
JanetLeach (Emily Watson) the mother of five is missing something in her
life. She goes through an Appropriate Adult course which would have her
volunteering to represent victims as well as suspects who are deemed
vulnerable and in need of assistance. Janet is surprised when she is called
in by the police to represent Fred West (DominicWest). When Janetasked if
he were “retarded”? She was told he was not.
Fredand his wife RosemaryWest have been under suspicion for years by the
authorities and Fred has been removed from the house and his wife as well
after the disappearance of their teenage daughter. Fred is being questioned
and the proceedings are being recorded. It is during this time, Janet
learns of the crimes he has committed and game of cat and mouse begins.
Fred draws her in with is words and professes loving his children. She sees
a broken man and then he shows a callus character describing the method
used to kill his own daughter and how he sawed off her legs and head in
order to fit her in where he buried her. Then he recants his story and then
changes his mind. He decides to trust Janet and tells her things between
sessions. He knows as well as Janetanything he tells her is to be kept in
confidence and cannot be used against him in the investigation.
Janet’s demeanor and closeness to Fred is unsettling to Detective
Superintendent John Bennettand a call to Janet’s supervisor has her gently
removed. Janet balks at the words of her supervisor and a run in at the
station with Bennett;Janet assures him she is more than capable of seeing
her position as Fred’s Appropriate Adult through. She is brought back on
the case and Fred is all smiles, when he sees she is back. So much that he
starts telling the Detectives a number and where to find the remains.
Fredtells Janet he and his wife made a pact that he would take all the
blame and she would be released and their remaining children will be
returned to her and she was to go home and be with their children. Then
when Fred would see his wife in court, she stopped talking and looking at
him, he was confused by his beloved wife’s treatment. His emotional
stability is shaken at the rejection of Rosemary. The story grows darker
and the shocking events that follow were mind bending.
I was asked if I would review this film and although it is not horror in
the conventional way, it is a true Horror story and one that was delivered
beautifully by Dominic West. The other key player in this story is
EmilyWatson as Janet Leach. Through the expressive mannerisms of Emily,
Janet Leachis born before the viewers’ eyes. She has a way with drawing
viewers in with her innocent and vulnerable stare. I have loved Emilysince
seeing as Maggie in ‘The Mill on the Floss’, but it was not until I saw her
as the blind lover to Ralph Fiennesin ‘The Red Dragon’ that I came to love
the depth of this actress. Emily Watsonis awesome in that she can give
bring me to tears with her countenance and expressive eyes.
The horror of knowing this was a true story involving the sadistic
murdering of 12 women from 1967-1987 at the hands of two real-life monsters
Fred and Rosemary West was given closure knowing what happened to Fred and
Rosemary. And the reason why Janet Leachpersevered in her motion to remain
Fred’s Appropriate Adult was explained by her. She being a mother felt that
Fred owed the mothers of the missing and deceased women, closure. They
needed to know if their missing daughters were killed and buried. It was
the not knowing that Janetfelt was wrong and she put herself in those other
mother’s places. She had a terrible time getting the images of what Fredand
Rosemary did out of her mind. She was constantly thinking what if it was
her children and how she would feel. She felt by Fred’s confessions, It was
his one redemption he could offer to the deceased and their loved ones.
Janet Leachbecomes involved more as the case unfolds and when something
terrible happens she goes through a sort of mourning and it takes the words
of her partner to show her the direction she is going would take her from
her children. Leach had to go through a trial and give evidence. Something
she thought she was safe from, but after certain events, she had to tell
the court everything and even to the point, she was pushed…she lied after
being in contact with the press and selling her story, but her testimony
was not totally thrown out and in the end 12 girls were uncovered and
prison sentence was handed down.
The film comes from the UK and takes place in Gloucester during the 90’s.
The story is engaging and haunting. It was done so tastefully without the
showing of reconstructed killings. It is allows the viewer to use their own
imaginations based on the chilling accounts given by Fred Westduring his
interview sessions. The viewer sees their home when Janet and Fred’s
attorney go there to collect clothes for Fredand Rosemary. The sex toys and
video cameras and even a peep hole drilled in the walls showed Janetand the
viewer how Fred and Rosemary lived with their children under the same roof.
It was later told Rosemary was a prostitute with Fred’s knowledge and her
sex toys were used to inflict pain on the murdered girls. All were visible
clues to what those women suffered at the hands of Fred and Rosemary West.
I recommend The Appropriate Adult it is a very good true-crime drama with
an excellent cast of actors and actresses. Monica Dolan’s portrayal of
Rosemary West was spot on! The woman was horrid and her scenes were limited
to the depiction of this film. However, when her scenes were playing as a
viewer, I could feel her animosity at the police and her anger was conveyed
through foul language. In a one part she is in shackles and being led up
the stairs of her home and the guard escorting her pulls too hard and
Rosemary reacts by cursing and saying, “I will break your arm” if she were
jerked one more time. After seeing her lifestyle and watching this film, I
shudder to think what she did to her victims.
I read online that Rosemary West was unimpressed when she found out Monica
Dolan was portraying her in the film. Rosemary didn’t feel that Monica was
as attractive as Rosemary. The article was most interesting and I am
including the link. The article describes the “cushy” prison life of
“Britain’s most prolific and infamous woman serial killer; convicted of the
‘depraved’ murders of ten young women and girls mostly at 25 Cromwell
Street, Gloucester, the terrace house she shared with her husband Fred
West, who hanged himself in custody shortly before he was due to stand
trial with his wife.”
I sat in awe of the strength of Janetto get through her ordeal with Fredand
the cold unwavering stare from Rosemary Westduring the trial was chilling.
If not for JanetLeach connection with Fred West, the world may never have
known the full extent of what happened to those 12 souls in Gloucesteror
validate the 20 or more children who were part of a Barn Killing, which was
mentioned during the investigations. Chilling and engrossing…I could not
turn away from the screen until the credits rolled. 3.5 Out of 5.
For more news, reviews and interviews by Char Hardin, visit her website