Last night Lifetime aired Mommy’s Little Girl, a movie that gave me yet another reason not to have children. I mean, if I did I wouldn’t hand them off to be raised by a frighteningly moralistic grandmother who would scar the child for life, but you never know what might happen.
In this case, the titular “little girl,” Sadie (Emma Hentschel), was raised by her paternal grandmother in the middle of nowhere. (And by her grandfather also, until he fell down the basement stairs and Sadie chose not to help him, long story.) Her mother was an alcoholic and her father died in a motorcycle accident. On the other hand, Grandma tells Sadie things like “follow temptations and you deserve what you get.” So she’s not a great option either.
Sadie’s mom Theresa (Fiona Gubelmann) is three years sober, running a successful hair salon (they always are), and getting married to a wonderful guy named Aaron (James Gallanders) who owns a toy company (they always do), so she decides it’s time to take Sadie away from the Flowers in the Attic situation she’s been dealing with for the past ten years. Except she doesn’t know it’s a Flowers in the Attic situation, which is why she’s so thrown off by Sadie becoming a devil child.
Sadie is able to turn her evil on and off at the drop of a hat. Except the way she behaves when she’s not evil, all sweetness and sunshine, is so obviously an act that even if I hadn’t seen her evil side I would immediately point at her and go, “That kid’s evil! EVIIIIL!” She also has a habit of getting very teary-eyed and desperate whenever anyone accuses her of anything, which leads her mother to tell her that everything is okay and she’s not mad, even when she almost burns down her room roasting a marshmallow over a candle.
After the marshmallow incident and that weird moment where Sadie said her grandma made her write “I’m sorry” a hundred times when she did something wrong, things seem to be going great with Sadie. Theresa takes her on a “girly day” to shop for the wedding, and it’s just barrels of fun, as illustrated by the cheesy montage. Sadie even gave away her cookies to a homeless man. How sweet! I’m sure she would never murder anyone, right?
Well, that assumption goes right out the window when you see how Sadie behaves at school. Namely, by stabbing a doll with a pencil and pretending it’s her classmates who tease her, as well as drawing people on fire. You know, just kid stuff. Then Sadie’s grandma (Deborah Grover) comes to visit and tries to tell Sadie that her mom is getting sick of her. She also asks said mom to compensate her for all the years she raised her daughter. So Sadie lures Grandma in the woods with some hot gossip about Aaron. And then she pushes her off a convenient cliff.
Theresa thinks it was an accident, and she tries to act sad about it, but you can tell inside she’s glad that bitch is dead. Sadie’s glad too, as evidenced by her talking smack into Grandma’s open coffin. Meanwhile Aaron’s just like, “Whatever, at least I don’t have to pay that lady anymore.”
After that things start to get troublesome at school. Despite adults taking it away from her time and time again, Sadie still somehow manages to keep getting her grandfather’s stolen lighter back. (It’s that stolen lighter that led to the conflict that caused him to fall down the stairs, FYI.) She takes it to school for show and tell, and her teacher Ms. Goldin (Alix Sideris) confiscates it. So Sadie goes snooping for it and discovers the teacher’s EpiPen. She asks her tutor (Eva Link) what it’s for, and the tutor goes into a very detailed and helpful explanation of allergies and anaphylactic shock. Sadie stores that away in her evil little brain for later.
Sadie then steals a box of action figures from her classmate Dylan (Sam Ashe Arnold), who’s been mean to her. She burns one of them with the lighter and leaves it in his locker like a dead horse head. Ms. Goldin suspects it was her and asks that she return them. Sadie freaks out that Ms. Goldin is going to send her away forever for her bad deeds, so she decides to do another bad deed to prevent that (#kidlogic).
She does some snooping to learn Ms. Goldin’s address, and she somehow also learns that her allergy is to nuts. How convenient that she just learned marzipan contains almonds, and it happens to be on the wedding cake sample in the fridge. She rides her bike to Miss Goldin’s house on the weekend and says she has to talk to her about her abusive grandpa, also LET’S EAT THIS DELICIOUS CAKE IMMEDIATELY, MS. GOLDIN. Ms. Goldin decides A.) not to call Sadie’s parents, and B.) to blindly eat a piece of cake brought to her by a troublemaking child without asking what’s in it. Not saying she deserved to die, but, I mean…
Sadie lies about where she was and says she went to her friend Samantha’s house. (Spoiler, Samantha doesn’t exist.) She also does a really bad job of hiding her guilt once she’s back at school and hears that Ms. Goldin died. “Was she murdered or something?” she asks. Dammit, Sadie! Watch a few more Lifetime movies before you decide to become a killer!
Aaron starts to get suspicious of Sadie after a series of events gives him every reason to be suspicious of her. First he hears from her tutor that she saw Sadie riding her bike over by Ms. Goldin’s house the day she died. He also hears from his son Josh (Mikael Conde) — whom I haven’t mentioned until now because this is literally his only contribution to the movie — that he found a creepy drawing of Sadie’s classmate Dylan hanging from a rope. Then there’s the fact that the principal says there are no Samanthas at the school. (Okay, I refuse to believe that, but whatever.)
Aaron starts asking Sadie questions, which she is so not into. This leads her to hit him over the head with a baseball bat. She’s just in the middle of planning how she’s going to lie about this one when he comes to. So she grabs a kitchen knife and is threatening to stab him with it when Theresa runs in and tries to talk her out of it. She’s all, “I love you! We all love you!” And I half expected Aaron, who had known Sadie for like a month and was just almost murdered by her, to be like, “Umm, actually…”
Sadie confesses to the murders and drops the knife. The movie ends with Theresa and Aaron coming to visit her in a cliche-looking institution, where she isn’t even hinted at being evil anymore. They could have shown her tearing the head off her new toy or drawing another creepy picture. I mean, seriously? That’s it? Also, why spend the whole movie leading up to a wedding and then not have it be a bloody Game of Thrones style climax? For shame!