Wishing Makes It So Review
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Here's an idyllic family—the mother a former preschool teacher (who presumably knows a thing or two about kids) and the father a social worker who works with disturbed children (who presumably also knows a thing or two about kids). They call each other “Darling” and are the proud parents of three idyllic children. They feel they have enough love for one more, so they decide to adopt a child after reading about her in a newspaper article spotlighting hard-to-place children available for adoption.

The candidate is Belinda, a four-year-old girl with behavioral problems, who comes from a background of neglect and abuse. The child resembles an angelic cherub but is really Satan in disguise. This kid wreaks havoc on the family. She begins by stealing cake and progresses to sticking the baby over and over with a hatpin. She cuts the daughter’s waist-length hair off while she sleeps, tries to drown the baby in the toilet, causes the brother to slice off his fingers with a paper cutter, and ultimately, during a game of hide-and-seek, puts baby in the clothes dryer, turns it on, and kills the baby. At this point, the parents realize they simply cannot adopt this kid, and they send her away. On the day of the baby’s funeral, the father is arrested on molestation charges because of accusations made by the child they sent away. The father is ultimately acquitted, but the nightmare doesn’t end there.

  
 
Sounds like a gruesome, horrifying story, and I guess it is—but it certainly doesn’t read like a Stephen King or Jonathan Kellerman novel. It’s more like the Cleavers adopt the She-Devil.

I found the characters lacking, especially the father, an extremely irritating, unrealistic character who calls his kids “princess,” “punkin,” and “sugar plum.” Here’s what he says after the son’s fingertips get cut off:

”He’s a tough kid. I’m sure he’ll come through just fine. No matter whether he loses the tops of his fingers or not, he’ll do just great. You’ll see. And no matter which way it is, we’re not going to blame anyone. Adversities come to all families from time to time. We’re strong enough and have enough love to overcome anything, isn’t that true?”

After the dead baby is removed from the dryer and the mother suggests the family eat something:

”You’re right. We should keep up our strength to enable us to face the trying times ahead.”

The characters are simply not believable, and this affects the story, which (while certainly done before) would otherwise have had a lot of potential. The dialog was stilted; the characters (with the exception of Belinda) are just too good to be true. If you flip through the channels, you might find the same plotline in a Valerie Bertinelli made-for-TV movie on Lifetime.

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