A Murder to Remember Review: A Tragic Exploration of Stockholm Syndrome!

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Stockholm Syndrome is a fascinating and disturbing phenomenon. It was at the heart of A Murder to Remember, an adaptation of true-crime novelist Ann Rule's work.

The film presented Stockholm differently -- it was in a manner we're not used to seeing.

The film is also the directorial debut of Lifetime veteran actress, Robin Givens, and for her first venture, she did a fantastic job.

Robin Givens Directorial Debut

A Murder to Remember unfolded like a mystery. Viewers were left in the dark every bit as much as Robin.

She only had fractured memories left to piece together. They came to her in flashes as she tried to recall what happened to her husband during a camping trip that went wrong.

The Riveras were young newlyweds and so sweet together as they embarked on a trip to celebrate their first anniversary.

They were playful, loving, and head over heels for one another. Sadly, they had the misfortune of coming across Sam.

The Riveras - A Murder To Remember

From the moment Sam appeared onscreen, he gave off that vibe of someone you wanted to get the hell away from. As time went on, that feeling intensified.

The worst part about it was that Javier had that sinking feeling too. His instincts told him that Sam was not a decent person, and he often made comments about parting ways.

Robin: He seems nice.
Javier: You think everybody is nice.

It was a classic case of your instincts screaming at you, and you not listening to them for one reason or another.

For Javier, his reason was Robin. It's in no way her fault, and she's not responsible for everything that transpired from that point forward, but Javier's indulgent love for his wife overrode his gut, and it was just one of many events that snowballed into his demise.

Helping a Stranger - A Murder To Remember

The truth is Sam was a monster, and he would have found a way to get to Robin if he wanted. Chances are, even if they left him after helping with his truck or walked away from him at that moment, he would've tracked them down and done the same thing.

The moment he mentioned he was going after that deer, you knew the only one getting shot was Javier.

And from there, it was an entangled web of fractured memories and "he said/she said."

Both the sheriff and Robin's mother were bewildered at the relationship between Sam and Robin.

A Murder To Remember - Tall

Even if it was an accident, how does one get along so well with the person who killed the man they loved?

Robin's lack of negative reaction-- her gratefulness toward this stranger who accidentally shot her husband and helped her through the woods within hours had the sheriff raising a brow.

Robin, I just want you to remember what I promised. I'm always going to be around no matter what happens, keeping an eye on you and your mom.

Sam

And Robin's mother was wary of Sam, especially when he made that creepy affirmation that he would always be around to take care of her. It's such an odd thing for any stranger to say.

Worried Mother - A Murder to Remember

But Robin's mother picked up quickly that something more happened in those woods based on her behavior.

Her refusal to see the Riveras and later her willingness to assume blame for Javier's death and return the family heirloom he gave her were suspect.

Robin's paranoia that someone was coming after her was concerning. It also didn't fit her story that she was missing for only a few hours.

When Robin finally recounted her experience with Sam in the woods, it was enough to make your stomach turn.

Gaslighting - A Murder To Remember

Sam was vile. He psychologically tormented her. He convinced her that he was some agent working for "The Organization."

He told her that he had to kill Javier because of the young man knowing who he was. He reminded her constantly that he had a crack shot and he would shoot her if she tried to leave him.

He went on and on with all of these things while she was in a scared and fragile state, and it made her susceptible to his suggestions and control.

He repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and as if hearing her describe her ordeal and seeing it through her eyes wasn't enough, her appearance as this young-looking, meek, frail girl hit harder.

Consoling Robin - Tall

You can't imagine anyone going through what Robin went thought, let alone someone her age. I'm glad she had her mother there to support and advocate for her.

Her experience was traumatic and awful enough, but it would've been infinitely worse if she didn't have her mother and the sheriff fighting for her and believing in her.

It's so important to hear and know that people believe you, and given that she failed her polygraph test when she spoke her truth and Sam didn't, her story could've ended there.

The chapter could've closed with no semblance of justice.

Sam's Arrest - A Murder to Remember

Sam must've been a confident man to waltz into a police station after brainwashing a woman (and killing her husband) and not expecting anyone to look into him any further.

Did he not expect the sheriff to check and see if he had a record? And boy, he certainly did!

Perhaps he expected that his position as a drifter would prevent them from tracking him down if they did find out. But he was obsessed with Robin, so he didn't even bother going anywhere.

And after gaslighting the hell out of her, he still showed up to scare and intimidate her.

Robin Rivera - A Murder to Remember

Fortunately, it didn't take long for the sheriff to know Robin was telling the truth. Setting Robin up with a psychiatrist who properly diagnosed her with Stockholm Syndrome was a breakthrough.

Determining that Sam wasn't working from some organization was, too. But they had to have enough evidence to charge him, and then they needed Robin's testimony.

Her mother was willing to stand by any decision she made regarding testifying, and initially, Robin was hesitant. You can't blame her for being afraid.

Surviving - A Murder to Remember

But then, she wanted to speak up for herself and Javier, and she decided to anyway. She needed to take back that control, and it was the best way she could do it.

She survived.

Mrs. Thompson: When someone violates you, it's never your fault.
Robin: I should have done something.
Mrs. Thompson: You did. You survived.

Mrs. Thompson had some of the best and most powerful quotes in the film.

The way she constantly reminded Robin that it wasn't her fault -- it was the type of affirmation that every trauma survivor needs to hear.

Over to you, Lifetime Fanatics. What did you think of this adaptation? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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