Quick Plot: Eight-year-old Sadie lives with her overly strict grandmother following the death of her father and addiction troubles of her mother, Theresa. Now clean, successful, and about to be married to an even cleaner and more successful man, Theresa takes Sadie back in to complete their sunny suburban dream family.
Despite her cheery disposition, Sadie isn't the little angel her golden locks suggest. Part of this comes from the fact that her cruel grandmother was verbally abusive, and the rest seems to stem from the fact that all the new people around her are generally horrible.
I know bullying is a problem, but do kids really take such an instant dislike to the nice young new girl that doesn't know slang because she was homeschooled? Before she can ask what a candy crush is, the poor kid is being ridiculed by crappy kids Dylan and Alliree.
Yes, that's apparently a girl's name in 2017. The apocalypse is already here.
At first, poor little Sadie really does try her darndest to fit in. Heck, even pushing her creepy grandmother to her death is somewhat justified in her point of view. Continuing on to steal Dylan's toys, mangle them and glue their burnt corpses to his locker, and poison her teacher with nut-containing marzipan while she teases her with an epi pen is, I suppose, more out of line.
You can be pretty sure you're watching the right kind of evil child flick when it includes said evil child doodling extremely detailed crayon illustrations of violent acts against the people who have wronged her. Directed by Curtis Crawford (whose stunning filmography includes The Husband She Met Online, The Wife He Met Online, The Boy She Met Online, The Girl He Met Online, The Guest She Met Online, Cyberstalker, and many, many more), Mommy's Little Girl comes from the upper levels of the Lifetime stable. While all the beats are hit and you can map out the major plot points blindfolded after the very first film, there's also far more skill on display than your average made-for-TV murder romp.
Lead actress Emily Hentschel is genuinely something special. It's easy enough to find a child actor that can pull off the bad seed vibe, but Hentschel lends Sadie true depth, nailing the full range of a troubled child play-acting at normalcy to the extreme. It's rare that you ever find true sympathy for the token evil child, but Hentschel earns it
I realize I'm asking an awful lot from a Lifetime killer kid film, but I guess my only real quibble is that there seems to be a lot of missed opportunities surrounding Sadie's upbringing. We get hints that Grandpa and Grandma were tough guardians who may have tortured poor Sadie with dungeons and discipline, but it just seems like there's a missed opportunity there
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Successful hairdressers don't just have great hair: they have the bounciest, shiniest locks you ever did see when waking up in the middle of night
Word travels realllllllllly slowly in the suburbs
Samantha is no longer a popular girl's name
Chekhov's Law of a Nut Allergy holds true, particularly on Lifetime
Lifetime movies can sometimes be hard to find if they're not airing during a themed marathon, but the truly devoted little rascals horror fans should put Mommy's Little Girl on their radar. It's rare to find such a nicely layered evil child at the center of your "let's watch an evil child do terrible things" films, let alone one made for a channel whose standards are lower than mine.