Picks and Pans Review: The Story Lady
Jessica Tandy stars as an elderly widow whose readings of classic children's stories on a cable-access channel enchant everyone who watches. Then some marketing sharpies decide to take her network and in the process nearly spoil everything that made her special.
Stephanie Zimbalist, Richard Masur, Ed Begley Jr. and Tandy's daughter, Tandy Cronyn, costar ably, and Charles Durning turns in a winning cameo. It's nice to see literacy get a boost, as the movie reminds one of the timeless pleasures provided by tales like Thumbelina and The Wind in the Willows. But all of Tandy's fans seem to be latchkey kids with moms and dads too busy to read to them. The emotional subtheme of this holiday family fable—the damage wrought by career-oriented parents—is clearly aimed at adults more than children.
Hey, in Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O'Hara was a working mom. How come she didn't have to feel guilty?