Maureen McCormick, probably best known for her role as teenager Marsha Brady, demonstrates an impressive range of acting chops portraying Barbara Mandrell. She doesn’t resemble Mandrell, but McCormick seems very comfortable and confident with her role. Her dialogue, full of music and music business vocabulary and references, seems genuine. She’s rarely off screen and carries the movie.
This made-for-TV movie presents key points of Mandrell’s life from childhood to her show business comeback. Her auto accident, recuperation, and show business re-emergence provide the climax. Most of her life events are presented succinctly and without too much detail. Examples: as a teenager she’s already playing multiple instruments; her family tours, she marries, she has children; she gets a record deal, she’s number one, she’s entertainer of the year, she gets a TV show; and so forth. In addition, at these significant life events topics are spoken to, and about, as if the audience should know what actually happened in her timeline, or to imply the chain of events that propelled Mandrell to another peak or valley. With that said, even with the brisk pace and compressed telling, there are still aspects of her life to learn about. One particular aspect of her life I appreciated as portrayed in the movie, was the importance of faith and family to the entire extended Mandrell family.
Produced 1997, it coincided with Mandrell’s retirement from performing. Casual fans might enjoy seeing McCormick in an adult role. Dedicated fans of Mandrell should enjoy the story, as well as the music – which is provided by Mandrell.