Picks and Pans Review: Oklahoma City: a Survivor's Story
updated 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
The survivor of the title, Priscilla Salyers, was an office manager working at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on the morning of April 19, 1995. As dramatized here, her life has hardly been ideal. Priscilla (Picket Fences' Kathy Baker) and her husband, Roy (Ray Baker, no relation), an out-of-work CEO, argue at breakfast over his slim job prospects and growing estrangement from the couple's two sons, ages 15 and 20. Then, at 9:02 a.m., Priscilla's world collapses. Buried alive under tons of rubble from a bomb blast that kills 168 others on that grisly day, she is miraculously dug out by rescue workers, emerging with three broken ribs, a punctured lung and a haunted soul. Mourning her slain colleagues, yet unable to fathom what she calls the meaningless evil that destroyed them, Priscilla has recurring nightmares of the faceless bomber. As she later tells Roy, "How can anybody who wasn't there ever understand?" This affecting docudrama succeeds in helping viewers understand the aftermath, at least, thanks largely to Baker's heartfelt performance as Priscilla. Convalescing at home, she explains to her sensitive younger son, "Honey, I hurt, and I'm gonna scream, and you're just gonna have to deal with it." In a way, that sums up the pluck of many of the Oklahoma City survivors.
Terry Kelleher is on vacation.