08/11/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
Lifetime (Mon., Aug. 11, 9 p.m. ET)
I've got to be the stupidest person in the world," says Dorothy Hajdys (Bonnie Bedelia) in this TV movie based on the true story of a 1992 murder. She does seem awfully slow to realize that her sailor son, Allen Schindler (Paul Popowich), was a homosexual, that his death resulted from a gay-bashing by shipmates and that the image-conscious Navy is covering up the nature of the crime. But Dorothy's awakening is moving, and her anger is powerful, perhaps all the more so for being overdue. Bedelia's emotionally honest performance avoids one-note righteousness, and the film resists the temptation to transform a reflexively homophobic, working-class mother into a smoothly sloganeering spokesperson for gay rights. She is who she is—but she's learning.