Her Fatal Family Secret (2021 Lifetime)

Her Fatal Family Secret (2021 Lifetime)

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Cast: Anita Leeman Torres, Sabrina Stull, Autumn Noel, Jason Tobias, Scott Christopher

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

An ambitious attorney must determine whether her estranged sister is responsible for their father’s death-or if it’s someone else close to home.. (2021)

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie begins in an ornate house with a sick old man, Everett Thaddeus Cross, upstairs asleep. Someone syringed his IV bag and kills him peacefully. (Which is so nice of them!)

Cut to a brunette woman with beauty AND brains. Abby Theroux is a powerful lawyer. She is leaving her job maybe because her ex-husband Damon slept with a paralegal? They are co-parenting their handful of a teenage daughter, Sophie. (Who is suspended from school for TWO WEEKS for calling the principal an asshole?) Sophie wears too much eyeliner, says things like “life isn’t fair,” and wants her parents to get un-divorced. (The Lifetime teen trifecta!) 

Abby learns of her millionaire father, Everett’s death. Police suspect foul play (Adrianna, Abby’s estranged sister, is the number one suspect), and Sophia suspects that she is going to be rich AF. Abby doesn’t have time to worry about her dead dad and has been hiding her family lineage for years. Her new boss Brice is aware of her father and relation but promises to keep it a secret. 

Abby gets an office with a crazy chair and a personal assistant named Janice at her new job. They seem to get along great, but I never trust a Lifetime assistant. 

Over plates of salad and broccoli, Sophia and Abby catch up on their days. (So much table setting in the first 10 mins of the movie, but I hope it will be worth it.) The conversation is cut short when Abby gets a call from Brice instructing her to represent Adrianna in Everett’s murder case.

Abby reluctantly visits the tacky family home (So much velvet, it seems like the house the Velveteen Rabbit was from. They even talk about a stuffed bunny later.) and meets with her sister. The visit spawns memories of her childhood where their mother was taken away and put into a mental institution., seemingly by Everette. (Where she eventually killed herself.) Adrianna was sent away from a private school, and the sisters lost touch. (So much backstory in this first act!!!) Adrianna has been accused of murder by the home nurse Bianca. 

Detective/Friend May meets with Abby at a bar to talk strategy for the murder case. May gives Abby ALL the information and evidence that has been found incriminating Adrianna. (Which seems like that isn’t how this should work.) Abby throws around the words “Circumstantial Evidence.” and “Motive.” like School House Rock, law edition. 

The next day, Abby brings Sophie to the house, and they find Adrianna getting a foot massage by the pool. (Not by a shirtless hunk?!?!?) Abby is unimpressed by the impromptu spa day and quits as her sister’s lawyer. (Brice is NOT having that and puts her back on the case.)

Meanwhile, Damon is working for the prosecution and starts digging into the case. He tries to talk with Bianca, but she literally hides from him. Bianca calls a guy, obviously Brice, to tell him about the visit. Bianca is also thrown out of the house by Adrianna. 

Damon burns the midnight oil and brushes his teeth in the office. There is something in his toothpaste that causes him to have a fatal heart attack!?!?!?! May breaks the news and turns the conversation into a “blame Adrianna for this murder too.” Sophie can’t handle the news and cries, somehow not smudging her eye makeup. Then she steals the family car and drives to Adrianna’s house.

Sophie confronts her aunt and demands to know the truth. Adrianna claims her innocence, and Shopie collapses in her arms. They drink wine, and the vibe totally changes to girls just hanging out. Abby shows up, and the sisters decide to forgive one another. Everyone hugs. Is this the end of the movie? Oh, nope, Bianca is watching them creepily from a distance.

Abby finds an old voicemail from Damon that shares some of the things he found out and also a confession of his love for Abby. The message leads Abby to Irwin, who lied to get Abby’s mother committed at her father’s request. (Apparently, Abby’s mother had an affair and a baby in the mental hospital.) Abby now has to figure out where the baby went and who the father was. 

May searches Abby’s office because she finds emails between Adrianna and Abby talking about the murder. Abby is arrested for the murder of her father. 

Meanwhile, Sophie and Adrianna drive through the LA hills in a red sports car. Sophie misses her mother’s call from jail. 

Abby calls her assistant Janice to get her out of jail. Janice shows up with some files that show Bianca was in the will?!?! 

The baby is, of course, Bianca, seeking revenge for the way Everett treated his mother. Brice is the man that was having an affair with Abby’s mother. They were working together, but Bianca couldn’t kill Everett, and Brice did it himself. Abby finds this out while going through old photos in the basement. Bianca confirms everything and shares Brice’s story of revenge. She also admits to setting up the sisters and planting incriminating emails.  

Abby is surprisingly sympathetic and calls her detective friend. May searches Brice’s office, but he sneaks out undetected. 

The women go to bed in the old house, and Abby treats Bianca like the long-lost sister she always wanted. Adrianna and Abby give Bianca a second chance. It’s a mistake because Brice shows up, and Bianca tells him everything. Brice is angry and attacks Bianca, knocking her out cold. Then he runs around the house trying to take the women out one by one.

Bianca wakes up and warns everyone to get out of the house. Abby, Sophie, Adrianna, and Bianca, cry and run around in the dark. Brice gets a hold of Adrianna and holds a syringe to her neck. Bianca wrestles the syringe from her father’s arms and sends them both flying over the stair railing. She survives; he does not.

Abby, Adrianna, Sophie, and Bianca enjoy mimosas by the pool. Sophie insists that Bianca move into the house under one condition, Adrianna remains the fun Aunt. The end!

Side Note

Minority Report: May, Limo Driver, Irwin Peterson, Officer, 

MarVista & Shadowbox Films

Also Known as A Dangerous Defense

Ted Campbell directed one of my favorite Lifetime movies of this year, Do You Trust Your Boyfriend

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➡️ Check out our Youtube Channel: Lifetime Uncorked: Lifetime Movie Reviews

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*** I’ve updated the rating system moving forward. Knives represent # of kills. Wine is over enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend)

Overall rating

Number of Kills: 

🔪🔪🔪 (3 Knives)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine.)

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #HerFatalFamilySecret

Christmas at the Chalet Lifetime Movie 2023, Teri Hatcher, and Chalet Girl? Lifetime Uncorked

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