Andrea Roth played Catherine in the Lifetime film

Heidi Reviews Lifetime Movie – Escaping the Nxivm Cult: A Mother’s Fight to Save Her Daughter

Heidi Hutchinson

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 Facinelli played Keith.

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.

Catherine Oxenberg [r] is interviewed by Gretchen Carlson in a one hour documentary about Nxivm.
Gretchen Carlson [r] interviews Frank Parlato for the Lifetime documentary that served as companion film for the Lifetime Movie “Escaping the Nxivm Cult: A Mother’s Fight to Save Her Daughter”.

 

 

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  • “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.”
    This is thanks to Cat actually…It is another lie clearly demonstrated in court but Cat maintain that the role of Allison is bigger than it really is.
    Ignoring that the role is the same as her daughter played!
    Ignoring that Allison was collateralized (which contradict the “lieutenant” theories)
    Ignoring that Allison was starved (almost to death because she was in terrible shape before she stopped her diet) and that it tempered her mind like for her daughter
    Ignoring that Allison was in the same position as India in every way.

    But accepting that Allison is also a victim isn’t easy for her, and ignoring the fact that India did the same thing as Allison is probably easier than putting the blame on herself for “abandoning” her daughter (atleast,at first…why she waited the story given by Piesse to react? no sane parent would do that)
    And before someone go with Allison , they did try to pull her out but understood that it wouldn’t work that way.
    They used the “deprogrammer”‘s method, keep the trust of Allison so she can be slowly convinced to leave without closing all the doors.
    The programmation is made to make the victims to lock themselves from anyone putting doubt on the cult or saying it’s a cult.
    Allison was rejecting anyone saying “it’s a cult” and cutting ties with those who tried to see it.

    Sadly, there was no time and for some reason,she snapped back (while close to leave).

    Her real friend tried too but when we seen it was really a cult, it was too late…

    Technically, it’s idiotic for the people behind the movie to do it that way because it’s a Dangerous game that could brought them to the court.
    In court, we discovered the collaterals that Allison had to give , hardly self motivated…she would need to have free will to be self motivated.
    And the coercion of the collateral says no.
    Better yet, the starvation is usable in court, scientifically, there is no doubt at all of the impact on the mind, just like sleep deprivation…those temper with the mind heavily and do not create a “psychopath” but more like a “zombie”.
    Inability to make self preservative decision is part of the impact (during an experiment conducted by the Minnesota University, the sane participant ended cutting/scarring themselves for many and one of them even cut 3 fingers of his hand)
    Talking about Allison like she was free willed (like some people like to pretend around here) is idiotic.
    So self motivated…and inherent evilness, i’m sure they know Allison.
    Before Nxivm, she was the absolute opposite…That is why many of her friends are still in disbelieve…It’s just not the real Allison.

    It’s not like others haven’t changed that way too (your own sister changed from what you pointed) , India is another example of a person that changed and lost any sense of self preservation (or sense of empathy)…Was she an evil person before Raniere tempered with her?
    No

    I’m not even sure that Lauren was a bad person until Raniere tempered with her…but in her case, the excuse of hypnose can’t be used (she was the one giving session).

    People forget that it’s a CULT…You really thing that the people from Jonestown where willing to die? a thousand (or so) who had the will to commit suicide? IT’S A CULT!

    The people at the top (with the tool for it) take control of (sorry for the victims) weak minded peoples…They push in their head ideas that are not their own, they control their mind (like it or not, mind control exist, not at the scifi level but it’s a fact and it depend fully of the “weakness” of the subject targeted).

    Now back to Allison, was Allison at the top? not really,or else, she wouldn’t be collateralized…
    She wasn’t even an executive (unlike Lauren or……Sara Edmondson)
    Was she weak minded? Absolutely (and sadly)
    Did she had the tool to control others? No (not even the collateral as it was Raniere’s possession, not hers…it’s not debatable but some idiot will do anyway)

    Because of the way the prosecution handled this case, this is way to often forgotten that Nxivm is a cult, not a mafia…
    While they are not completely different in function, one is based on free will (mafia) , the other isn’t…

  • Didn’t Catherine Oxenberg run around with Prince Andrew for a while? Maybe more ties NXIVM to Epstein than just the Bronfmans.

  • For an overall view of the NXIVM Crime Gang, the Frank Report is probably the best source outside the files collected by the FBI.

    And I am certain that there are many deep, dark secrets that the top NXIVM insiders are still hiding. Particularly about sex trafficking and pedophilia.

    Even the US government has only hinted at part of the story.

  • Ambivalent about whether to watch the movie or not, so thanks, Heidi, for giving your impressions. The interview segment does sound well worth viewing. The thing is, when you have something to say, I trust your heart and mind and am willing to take in what you are giving. With you , it is always more than just words can convey. But I can feel you! Let us sing a chorus of “have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.” That’s right, Jimi. And so has Catherine Oxenbourg been “experiencing” and becoming more and more experienced, but Lifetime TV is usually denutrionalized oatmeal.

    Maybe the movie will be informative to lots of people who haven’t seen or heard much about the whole thing and its complexities. If it helps one person…bellisima, bellisimo.

    One another note, here is Blind Item #7 today from the “Enty lawyer” at Crazy Days and Nights.

    “This very wealthy, hiding out n (sic) a foreign country so she doesn’t suffer the same fate as her sibling said three men recently broke into her home with guns and told her to stay quiet or her child would be killed. She claims she has no idea who they are.”

    Of course commenters guessed Clare Bronfman’s sister for this blind. And the same commenters seemed to be full of misinformation, too. One even guessed Ghislaine Maxwell and then claimed that there are photos of her pregnant and “nobody knows where the child is.” The whole blind item, like all blind items, is questionable. But at the same time, one learns via research never to ignore any blind corners.

    • Thanks, Shivani. Same backatcha. Agree with your take on Lifetime fare in general. This one’s worth a once-over and doesn’t require much attention if you’ve got emails to return. Re: the blind item. Does it occur that perchance the running-scared sibling [Sara Bronfman] is pulling a Jussie Smollet for sympathy?

      …Crazy Days has oft been used as a safe misinformation dispensary by NX insiders but as a fictional Nazi once opined in a Quentin Tarantino film: “I love rumors. Rumors, whether true or false, can be very revealing.”

  • Mr. Parlatos hair style reminds me of a Viking warrior in the picture above. I love it. Great job. Thank God they aired that interview to help clarify that creepy movie. I don’t think the actor portraying Frank was that bad. He wasn’t that great either. It was funny when he referred to Cathryn as little Missy. They could have added a little more creep factor by showing how hairy Keith really is. Congrats to all the journalist for covering the story.

  • Of course this was one person’s perspective and Lifetime kept it focused mainly on the Oxenbergs and Alison Mack who Catherine is really pissed at (with reason of course). There is no way a two hour lifetime movie can show every important detail of the story. Heck I was disappointed that Allison’s “wife” wasn’t even mentioned.

    • ” I was disappointed that Allison’s “wife” wasn’t even mentioned.”

      I’ll bet Nicki was happy about that.
      Truth be told Allison probably abused India more than Keith Raniere because the Vanguard had all those other women to occupy his time.

    • True, Chaotic. Not only does Catherine have a divine right to be particularly pissed off at Allison (along with everyone who suckered and scarred India) but a solid story structure also usually calls for condensing heroes and villains down to single, lead characters which is rarely obliged by reality itself.

      I just know too much about the origins, secrecy and methods of NXIVM to find it fair that Allison was portrayed as more in-the-know and selfishly motivated than the much higher ranking insiders who are far more self-serving, cognizant and cunning than she could possibly be in reality.

      • You will probably have better luck with the upcoming HBO special. But even that will more then likely be focused on Vancouver and how two highly regarded tv shows became a hunting ground for a cult and the monsters it created. So I am guessing if if the HBO one does touch on Mexico it will be in very general ways.

        • HBO’s documentary on NXIVM will be a series, not just a special, so there will be plenty of time for Mexico, branding, and Kristin Kreuk.
          Also, I assume/hope there will be lots of actual pix and footage of the real people, and few reenactments.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

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