Picks and Pans Review: Nobody's Child

updated 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., April 6, 9 p.m. ET)

B+

Here's one of those stories that would be almost impossible to believe if it weren't true. And here's one of those roles actresses long for so they can show off everything they ever knew about acting. Marlo Thomas plays Marie Baiter, a woman who spent nearly 20 years in a mental institution and was almost abandoned as incurable until one doctor saw life in her eyes and found ways to bring it out. After excruciating hard work, Baiter left the institution, earned her master's in education at Harvard and today she's founding a mental health institute in Massachusetts. Thomas approaches the subject as her husband Phil might on his show—with a surplus of intensity and energy. She overdoes it some. And the script glosses over facts, not quite explaining what was wrong with Baiter so you don't really know how high the odds were against her. Nonetheless, what does come through, in neon, is Baiter's tremendous courage and the equally impressive decency of those around her. That's what makes Nobody's Child worth watching.

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