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Shannen Doherty’s frightening No One Would Tell is our Sunday TV movie pick

On tonight’s Lifetime movie No One Would Tell, every parent’s nightmare is enacted as a cautionary tale, told in flashback as a mother (Shannen Doherty) gives testimony about her missing daughter in court.

Her daughter Sarah, a bright, bubbly high schooler, went missing and that is the focus of this chilling film that tackles domestic violence.

No One Would Tell shows the artful work of a master manipulator in pretty packaging, an all-American good looker named Rob Tennison who appears to have it all — money and a bright future.

Except Rob is a psychopathic and quite possibly a murderer.

It also shows how this disturbing violent behavior can be hidden from a parent, who by all accounts is involved and paying attention to their child.

The original 1996 version of No One Would Tell starred Candace Cameron Bure and Fred Savage.

What is the film about?

Sarah and her mother are constantly tricked by Rob and his charm offensives
Sarah and her mother are constantly tricked by Rob and his charm offensives. Pic credit: Lifetime

This updated made-for-television movie, No One Would Tell is a dramatic teleplay of physical and emotional abuse in teen relationships.

Laura Collins is a single mother to her intelligent and sweet daughter Sarah (Matreya Scarrwener). Laura is in between relationships and is initially enthusiastic when Sarah is chosen by the charismatic Rob Tennison (Callan Potter) to be his girlfriend.

The hitch is Rob is a toxic psychopath who uses violence and manipulative behaviors to exact his will and control on Sarah.

How Sarah succumbs to this monster is artfully unspooled as we see this smart cookie crumble with the building behaviors that Rob delivers to Sarah, as her life becomes nightmarish.

Laura’s senses are slowly being alerted until the worst thing happens, Sarah goes missing.

A powerful judge (Mira Sorvino) presides over his court case.

‘No red flags’

Sarah is sucked into Rob's charming orbit
Sarah is sucked into Rob’s charming orbit. Pic credit: Lifetime

Miss Laura Collins is a loving mother of a teenage girl, Sarah (Matreya Scarrwener) who is blessed with “fierce hair” and a killer smile.

Sarah has a crush on a new boy, Rob Tennison (Callan Potter), and it wedges into her BFF time with her pal Nikki (Chanelle Peloso). Out of the blue, he appears on her doorstep, full of flattery.

“Just look at him! He’s smart and charming, right out of a Jane Austen novel,” says Doherty’s character in a court scene under oath and being questioned. When asked when she started to see red flags, she says this is interlaced with the drama shown in flashbacks.

Rob is shown to be an affluent party boy and generous with his attention to the ladies. Sarah is so smitten she overlooks all the warning signs and falls hard for him.

Then it gets physical.

Sarah's friend Nikki senses Rob is off and is worried
Sarah’s friend Nikki senses Rob is off and is worried. Pic credit: Lifetime

Rob unpeels his all-American good looks and reveals a monstrous controlling and abusive nature.

He is pathological in the way he preys on Sarah and effectively alienates all of her friends while keeping her quiet about the escalating physical violence he delivers in between “I love you’s.” Rob creates the perfect victim in Sarah, who is now lying to her mother.

Nikki watches her friend slowly be subsumed by Rob and his violent ways
Nikki watches her friend slowly be subsumed by Rob and his violent ways. Pic credit: Lifetime

After observing all the clues and watching how he talks and treats Sarah, Nikki is wisened to his abusive history and tries to intervene to save Sarah.

Is there a social purpose for the film?

Sarah hides many injuries and bruises from Rob
Sarah hides many injuries and bruises from Rob. Pic credit: Lifetime

Yes. Tackling teen domestic dating violence, as this film will, initiates Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign.  This will include a PSA featuring talent across Lifetime’s programming portfolio, educational guides and more, according to the network, all in partnership with a coalition of non-profits.

Where has Shannen been?

Shannen Doherty
Laura Collins is in court testifying about her missing daughter. Pic credit: Lifetime

Since revealing her breast cancer diagnosis three years ago, Shannen Doherty has undergone chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery and has come through all the medical hurdles to return to acting.

This film is her first foray back into her work.

“I don’t want cancer to be the only thing I’m focused on,” Doherty shared with People. “I’m an actor first and foremost. I love my craft.”

No One Would Tell airs Sunday, September 16th at 8/7c on Lifetime.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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