Watch Born Innocent
- 1 hr 39 min
Born Innocent is a 1974 made-for-television movie directed by Donald Wrye and starring Linda Blair, Joanna Miles, and Allyn Ann McLerie. The film tells the story of a troubled teenage girl named Chris Parker (played by Blair) who is sent to a juvenile detention center after a string of misbehavior leads her family to believe they cannot control her. However, the detention center is anything but suitable for young girls, and Chris's journey becomes a harrowing tale of survival in a system that seems designed to brutalize the vulnerable. The film begins with Chris running away from home after a particularly violent argument with her mother. She ends up in a park where she meets up with a group of boys who try to assault her. She eventually returns home, but the tension between her and her family increases, and Chris's school performance suffers as a result. After a particularly egregious act of vandalism, Chris is sent to a detention center, which is supposed to help troubled youths get back on track. However, the reality is far from what Chris expected. The detention center is an overcrowded, rundown facility where girls are subjected to abuse and neglect by both the staff and other inmates. Chris becomes particularly vulnerable to the other girls' taunts and threats, and the staff's indifference to her plight only makes matters worse. One particularly sadistic guard, played by McLerie, takes a particular interest in Chris, and her cruelty towards the young girl only exacerbates her already desperate situation. As the film progresses, Chris struggles to adapt to the harsh realities of life at the detention center while also trying to maintain a sense of hope for her future. She befriends a girl named Maddy (played by Miles) who shares her struggles with the system, and together they try to navigate their way through the many challenges they face. However, despite their best efforts, the odds seem stacked against them, and it becomes increasingly clear that the system is not designed to help them but to punish them for their perceived misdeeds. At its core, Born Innocent is a powerful indictment of the juvenile justice system, which is depicted as a nightmarish institution where young people are stripped of their dignity, their humanity, and their hope for the future. The film is unflinching in its portrayal of the violence and cruelty that take place inside the detention center walls, and Blair's performance as Chris is both haunting and heartbreaking. The film's legacy has endured over the years, not only because of its powerful message but also because of the controversy it engendered upon release. Despite being a television movie, Born Innocent tackled subject matter that was considered taboo at the time, including rape, drug use, and homosexuality, which led to some vocal protests from conservative groups. However, the film's frank approach to these issues helped to shed light on the plight of troubled youth and the failings of the juvenile justice system, and it continues to resonate with audiences today. In conclusion, Born Innocent is a powerful and disturbing film that offers a searing indictment of the juvenile justice system. With its unflinching portrayal of violence and cruelty, the film remains a relevant and thought-provoking work of cinema that has secured its place in the canon of important and socially impactful American productions. Fans of Linda Blair, social justice films, and 1970s cinema will find this movie to be enticing, with its emotionally charged perspectives and raw depictions.