By Heidi Hutchinson
I thought that although the Lifetime Movie Escaping the Nxivm Cult: A Mother’s Fight to Save Her Daughter was a decent telling of one victim’s story, it was far too carefully crafted to avoid implicating certain NXIVM players for certain crimes not yet, maybe never, charged.
I am slightly miffed that the only mention of any teenage, much less pre-teen (or Mexican for that matter) sex targeting was an outright lie — a cover-up if you will — mentioning Keith had sex with a Mexican girl on her 18th (not 15th) birthday.
Of course, there was no trace of the Mexican Nxivm leaders Emiliano Salinas, Alejandro Betancourt, Edgar Boone, etc. But then again, the “male” sex was snubbed altogether — even in the unflattering portrayal of Mark Vicente with over-gelled hair.
Might have been a quasi-Mexican chick among the extras, but no trace of any imported Chihuahua teens or pimp lady Rosa Laura Junco.
The portrayal of Nancy Salzman as a marmish, button-downed prude was beyond ridiculous.
Peter ‘Farce-nelli was excellent as Keith, especially considering he had no good lines to back up the evil he exuded anyway.
Catherine Oxenberg has a lot more spark, substance and wit to her in real life than Andrea Roth portrayed. And there could have been far more chemistry between her and India’s character.
Frank Parlato’s role was dreadfully diminished from what I know it actually was and even from how he was portrayed in Catherine’s book, “Captive.”
Clare Bronfman was barely there.
True to the Salzman/Salinas/Bronfman defense strategy, Allison Mack was the only “groomer” in sight and she appeared entirely self-motivated by some subverted possessiveness over Keith along with her own inherent evilness — another lie, IMO.
Some things the script only touched on that are fast becoming glaring facts, as the truth continues to unfold, include Keith’s mentality behind the branding; his need to be deified by demanding worship, and that “sacrifices” be made of his acolytes.
We never see him strategizing, calculating, scheming — as he did — with any other character or alone — leaving us with little explanation as to why he was so ever so feared or revered.
Keith’s vengeance in action and command was underplayed with throw off lines like “We’ll just sue her [Catherine] like always.”
Catherine’s mother was my favorite character.
I loved the scene of Keith’s arrest in the closet when the Federales order him to lift his hands “higher.” HA!
My late sister Gina used to play that “Why didn’t you stand up or on the chair?” parlor trick with family on holidays. Then came the Keith diatribe about how we’re all programmed to fall short of our potential, serve the patriarchy, etc.
The best, truest parts of it for me were the post-show interviews with Catherine, Frank Parlato and Rick Ross. It is called “Beyond the Headlines: Escaping the NXIVM Cult with Gretchen Carlson”.
You can watch both the movie and the documentary online by going to https://www.mylifetime.com/ and signing up. There isn’t a cost/fee for signing up.