When Love Is Not Enough

6.81 h 36 min2010PG
Based on the true story of the enduring but troubled love between Lois Wilson, co-founder of Al-Anon, and her alcoholic husband Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. From the Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection.
John Kent Harrison
Winona RyderBarry Pepper
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Hallmark Hall of Fame
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

777 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

C.J.CReviewed in the United States on June 6, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Story of the Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon
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This true story is amazing and should be seen by every struggling alcoholic and their families. Every minister and addiction counselor, and pastor should see this, and it should be in every church library. How Lois Wilson, co-dependent and living in a nightmare, rose from her dire circumstances and out of love for her husband, took the lead in healing him. She did this through inviting his alcoholic friends to their home - the opposite of what most women or parents would be inclined to do. One evening she discovered the wives, who had driven their husbands, parked out front, waiting for them,, and invited them in, to become friends and support for each other. I have no doubt Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-non are straight from God, and Lois Wilson was his servant who out of love for her husband, rose above her own desperate circumstances to help her husband and untold others The list of those who receive the benefit of her inspiration and work goes on and on ........!
14 people found this helpful
Barbara Tiller ColeReviewed in the United States on December 18, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hallmark has NOT allowed the public to see one of its BEST films ever made! Its wonderful...
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This is a excellent film. I wish that Hallmark would show it on the Hallmark Channel or make it more viewable. I enjoyed My Name is Bill W., but I think that this film has more depth and is a much higher quality production over all even though both were written about one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. I think anyone that works in the field of addiction, and honestly anyone in the medical field should see this film. I know that there will be many 12 step individuals who would love the film and haven't been able to see it due to lack of availability.
24 people found this helpful
ljmchReviewed in the United States on March 27, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful and Inspiring
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I was very anxious to see this movie. I wanted to see the bio on the woman who was there from the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous. The wife of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of A.A. I also bought the movie MY NAME IS BILL W.. Both Movies show how A.A. , the program that saved millions from the depths of Alcoholism got started. This movie takes you through days and years of how the Alcoholic AND the family member suffered the disease of Alcoholism along side each other. The dedication Lois W. had to her husband and to their commitment to each other. As Bill W. dives to the bottom of his disease, Lois W. hangs on with all the Hope and Faith she can muster up to stand by her man, even when family and friends are saying 'Get Out Now!". She won't give up on Bill W. and then, through a spiritual experience, a miracle, Bill W. gets Sober. Even that part turns out to be a challenge to the marriage. It's one thing to live with a drunk and then to live with a drunk in Recovery, is two different worlds. The drunk world and the sober world, bringing the two worlds together - to help save others from the depths of alcoholism was the Purpose of this new found Program. One Alcoholic helping another Alcoholic through sharing their own Experiences, Strength and Hope with each other. At first Lois felt alot of mixed emotions about Bill W. new found sober world. A sober world she felt in competition with at times. His helping suffering Alcoholics wherever and whenever he could. Feeling left out. Till - She saw the Same Need for the Recovering family members as well. A Need to bridge the two worlds together for Their own understanding. She shared with the families her own Experiences, Strength and Hope and so the ALANON program was born. I am so grateful for her Courage and Strength, to overcome the years of suffering - to find her God Given Purpose. Using the same outline for recovery, used for the A.A. program. A.A and Alanon Programs brought together, Bringing Hope to many families in recovery to find Sobriety and Happiness together. Winona Ryder plays Lois Wilson, convincing in her role. Barry Pepper plays Bill W., so convincing as a suffering Bill W.. Movie depicts an enduring Love Story that helped Save millions of people around the world in the throws of Alcoholism. My name is Laura Mc. a Recovering Alcoholic and a very Grateful Member of ALANON. These Programs worked for Me, Saved My LIFE. I have a Happy, Joyous and Free Life today. They can work for You as Well. This Movie is a wonderful and Inspiring inlet for learning about these Life Saving Programs. The DVD is Great. Good color and sound.
20 people found this helpful
Butterflymom54Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Emotional, but truly beautiful in the journey to freedom
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I almost did not watch this movie. Content of Alcoholism might have struck at my emotions too deeply. However I did. To me, this was one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The heart in the movie was what struck me. Both main actors did a great job. Nailed it! Painful to watch, Yes! But until the entire ugly truth gets out of a human struggling with addiction, nothing changes. I was encouraged and inspired. Actually the most painful part to me was seeing her go through miscarriages. I could identify with that. The addiction part also. I saw myself in that role and it does not end because you love someone, or you place your hand on a Bible or even pray. It takes a divine act of God. I know because both my Mom and Brother claimed the same thing when they quit drinking. However, yes: many trails of destructive emotions and broken relationships are left behind. The devotion and love these two had for each other was very touching. Each one with their own mental and emotional issues. Two broken people trying to keep their sanity in place. It made me think about the Ragamuffin movie made about Rich Mullins. Some other comments have been made about other movies being better. Each perspective adds a little more to the entire picture of the pain and destruction of addiction, whether alcoholism or any thing else that keeps our minds and hearts and bodies in bondage.
I do not see this as a family movie. But many commented they have used it for their classes. So God bless them.
13 people found this helpful
Ervin HainReviewed in the United States on September 11, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
When The AA Big Book Is Not Enough
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This movie depicts an accurate history of how the program of Alcoholics Anonymous began and the emotional pain and unrest Bill Wilson's wife, Lois, faced living with an intelligent and successful businessman whose career was damaged by his alcohol dependence. I have always been impressed with Hallmark's ability to present life past and present with tenderness and reality in its movies. I am a substance abuse counselor who uses this excellent depiction of the disease concept of addiction, the dysfunctional family unit and codependent behaviors, and the hope for a better life once addicted individuals reach a powerless and unmanageable bottom and become willing to make a powerful and spiritual change in their lives and the way family members can better understand addiction and its damaging effect on families in order for the family to begin its own healing process through Al-Anon started by Lois Wilson. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who desires increased awareness to how family can be included in anyone's recovery process and build understanding, love, support.
41 people found this helpful
cwglindnReviewed in the United States on January 19, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Hidden Treasure of another View of AA
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Tells the story of Lois Wilson who stood by and up for her husband Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. I love how it goes through describing the impact of addiction on the family and how Lois follows the guide of the AA 12 steps in setting up Alanon the group for family of those with addiction. She also works the steps in the movie after staying with Bill through the horrible parts of his disease and then her resentment at his commitment to recovery. Really good acting and scenes.

I am a licensed substance abuse counselor and I have also shown this movie to my women's and men's groups to show family impact.
7 people found this helpful
M. PayneReviewed in the United States on April 3, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
I Liked It
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This is the story of the struggle of the wife of Bill W. (one of the founders of AA) After he got sober and began his AA work, she discovered she also needed to recover from the effects of the disease of alcoholism, and founded a separate but related program, called Al-Anon. Al-Anon is not for alcoholics, its for the friends & family of alcoholics. Her story is truly inspirational and as an Al-Anon myself, I enjoy watching this at least once a year. It is estimated that every alcoholic/addict severely effects at least 4 other persons with their addiction, Al-Anon helps these people recover, as AA helps the alcoholic.
57 people found this helpful
K. A. HaydenReviewed in the United States on April 11, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
True to story
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I was very impressed of the accurate depiction of the Lois and Bill story. As one that is very familiar with both the AA and Al anon programs it brought to life what is read in the books. Recommend to all who are in recovery, deals with alcoholism in the family, and/or wants to understand the baffling nature of addiction.
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