Although things have improved greatly, when this film was made during the early nineties, rape often went unreported. Making a statement against letting sleeping dogs lie, A Reason to Believe takes a strong stance against the abuse of women. It almost makes a strong stance for women’s rights as well, falling short only because of hypocrisy.
A Reason to Believe is a straightforward drama with little else to offer, making it difficult not to expect the film to feel like a TV special. Somehow it holds, however, never seeming too cliché or trite. One of the elements of the film which bothered me the most also helped to make it more dimensional and real. The women’s rights group wanted desperately to let everyone know that they had the right to do whatever they wanted, but at the same time they would not allow
the simple right of making the
choice to come forward on her own. They pressured her into it, eventually
leaking the story into the school newspaper just to force her into the
spotlight. They had no concern for Charlotte ’s
individual rights even though that is what they claim to be defending the
entire film. Charlotte
There are many other interesting questions in the film, all concerning truth, loyalty, and choices. Much of the struggle seems to come in
’s decision, but there are other
people who know she is telling the truth and choose not to come forward. Others
simply lie in the rapist’s defense. Charlotte
quickly learns who her true friends are, and how few of them there really are.
The other good thing about this film is its willingness to allow things to end
unfinished. It understands that rape is not something that simply disappears
regardless of how the person was punished. Charlotte
With a surprisingly large amount of special features for a film this old and small, A Reason to Believe is a rarity among new-to-DVD releases. There are ten mini-featurettes, documenting the making of the film and examining the issue of rape further.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Disc Features: 7/10