Top-notch actresses deliver in 'Girl Thing' miniseries

Critic's Choice: Television

January 14, 2001|By David Zurawik

How's this for a lineup?: Kate Capshaw, Stockard Channing, Rebecca De Mornay, Mia Farrow, Peta Wilson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Irma P. Hall, Linda Hamilton, Glenne Headly, Allison Janney, Elle Macpherson, Camryn Manheim, Tina Lifford and Lynn Whitfield.

That's the cast for the Showtime miniseries, "A Girl Thing," and the impressive thing about it is that most of these actresses deliver strong performances rather than walking through a superficial role and collecting a check, as is often the case in big-cast mini-series.

The four-hour film, which airs in two parts at 8 p.m. Jan. 20 and 27, consists of four stories featuring women in life passages. The connecting thread is that one of the women in each of the stories is a patient of Dr. Beth Noonan, a psychiatrist played by Channing. As is almost always the case with her characters, Channing makes you care about Dr. Noonan instantly.

The first story features Macpherson as a successful attorney who finds herself attracted to a Type A advertising executive played by Capshaw. It is Capshaw (""How to Make an American Quilt") who makes the lesbian relationship work as drama, though the partially naked body of supermodel Macpherson will probably generate the buzz for part one of the miniseries. As an actress, Macpherson still has a way to go before she belongs in this league.

There are men in the cast, like Bruce Greenwood, Scott Bakula and Brian Kerwin. But the women's stories and performances are the ones that matter here, which is reason enough to watch.

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