The Perfect Mother (2018 Lifetime)
Stars: Sunny Mabrey, Audrey Whitby, Lili Sepe
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
When popular mother/daughter-bonding vlogger Stella Marshall finds herself on the outs with her own rebellious daughter Shay, she soon attracts the attention of a dangerous teen fan girl named Peyton, who will stop at nothing to make Stella the perfect mother of her own.
A teenage girl, Shay, is getting ready for a night out with her handsome boyfriend Jake and sneaks out of the house. Her mother, Stella, is taking a long luxurious bubble bath planning on spending the night with her daughter. Stella is disappointed that Shay left her home alone again. (Their relationship has been strained since Shay’s father died a year ago and Stella is dating Shay’s English teacher Issac.)
Another mother-daughter combo has a very different interaction. Peyton gets a poisoned birthday cake, her trashy stepmother, Ruth. (Played delightfully by Krista Allen. Very cool cameo.) Ruth dies dramatically while Peyton blows out the candles and makes a wish. Payton takes over her mother’s cleaning business and moves in with a reluctant woman named Harper. (Harper lives next door to Stella.)
Peyton is a big fan of Stella and her blog. She arranges a meet-cute at Stella’s cafe and acts like it is all serendipitous. Peyton says she will be going to the same school as Shay and hopes they will be friends. Stella offers Peyton a ride home since she is staying right next door. On the drive, Peyton overshares and talks about her mother dying in childbirth. Then they make vegan soup together. When Shay comes home and sees them cooking together, she is weirded out and rejects Stella’s suggestion for Shay and Peyton to become friends.
At her new school, Peyton is getting settled in. Shay helps Peyton find her classes and tells her about Stella dating their English teacher. After school, Shay goes out with her boyfriend, while Peyton and Stella have a pool party in the backyard. Peyton even borrows one of Shay’s bathing suits and peruses her room. By the pool, they talk about blogging being cool. (It is!) and Bloggers being awesome. (They are!) Stella is having a hard time with her daughter pushing her away. Peyton advises her to focus on herself and date Isaac. Stella takes the advice and joins Isaac for a dinner date. He seems to be smitten.
Harper gives Peyton some clothes that she no longer wears, and Stella gives Peyton a makeover. At school, Peyton walks in slow motion while her classmates look on and say that she looks exactly like Shay’s mom. The guidance counselor, Alex, is concerned about Peyton’s mother not returning his calls. He tells Peyton that he will be paying her a visit at 5 pm. (Shay overhears the conversation.) When he gets to the house, Peyton makes an excuse and sends him away. He forgets to give Peyton a brochure and enters via the backdoor seeing the body. Peyton hits him in the face with a rock and says, “Later. Alligator.”
When Alex doesn’t show up to school the next day, Shay is suspicious of Peyton. Shay is starting to become jealous of Peyton, who is hanging around the house more and more. Stella is starting to get weirded out too by how much Peyton is hanging around. Stell plans a mother-daughter pool party but also invites Isaac. When Shay walks in on, Stella makes out with a shirtless Isaac; she gets agitated and storms off. Later, they come to an understanding. Shay thinks her mom is the best and should have the freedom to date whoever she likes, even if it is her English teacher.
When Peyton gets kicked out of Harper’s house, Peyton stabs herself in hand and calls the police blaming Harper. Harper yells at Peyton for being so manipulated and stops mid-scream to ask if Peyton got a makeover. (Haha.) Harper is taken into custody, and Peyton stays with Stella and Shay. Shay is not buying Peyton’s story and thinks there is something off.
It is Stella’s birthday, and Peyton gives her a “thoughtful” gift (A picture of her with Stella.) and card. The card is another story; it is a “Happy Birthday, Mother.”
Shay accuses Peyton of lying, and the girls fight at lunch. Isaac breaks it up and asks Shay what is wrong. She freaks out on him too. The school suspends Shay for bad behavior. Shay goes to work in the cafe, and Peyton steals her car/house keys. Peyton visits Isaac as he leaves school and pushes him down some stairs, killing him, then she puts Shay’s bracelet in his hand. (WHAT DID HE DO!?!?) Then Peyton bakes another poison cake.
Stella gets ready for her date with Issac and is distracted. Peyton shows up with a cake and sings happy birthday to “her other mother.” The celebration is cut short when the police arrive and tell them that Isaac isn’t dead, he is in a coma and Shay is suspected in the attack. (She has a motive and no alibi.)
Stella goes to Peyton’s house and finds the body. She calls the police and rushes home.
Shay visits Harper, who is back from Jail, and asks about Peyton’s alibi. Shay finds baking items in the trash, and on the counter, for some reason, it is the evidence they need. As they are about to go to the cops, Peyton pops out with a cake knife. Harper is stabbed to death and sets her sights on Shay, who grabs a cutting board. Stella bursts in with a tire iron and tells Peyton to stop lying. It is over. Peyton hands over the knife, but when she sees Stella comforting her daughter, she grabs the tire iron and tries to kill Shay. Stella finds her mother’s strength and knocks Peyton out.
Three months later, Stella is done blogging or vlogging and is going to Cabo with Shat in matching floppy hats. Shay calls Stella “The Perfect Mom” or perfect to her anyway.
Minority Report: Helen
Ninth House Production film. Written and directed by Lifetime fav, Jake Halgren.
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*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime