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TV Reviews : A Battered Wife’s ‘Shattered Dreams’

Wives who get beaten and smashed by their husbands and don’t get rid of them are pretty stupid. Likewise, husbands who beat and smash their wives ought to be kicked and clubbed.

There, we said it. That’s probably the pervasive sentiment on the matter of battered wives.

“Shattered Dreams,” which airs on Channels 2 and 8 Sunday at 9 p.m., takes on said domestic violence with Lindsay Wagner and Michael Nouri. It’s based on a case that achieved notoriety because John Fedders was prominent as director of enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Charlotte Fedders wrote a book (with Laura Elliott) about her experience. While the solution might seem simple enough to outsiders (see above), “Shattered Dreams"--executive-produced by Roger Gimbel, scripted by David J. Hill and directed by Robert Iscove--reveals thick layers of complications.

The Fedderses are smart people who love each other. He is possessed to excel; he demands perfection, from her, from their five sons--from himself; he also is driven by strange demons. Charlotte has the burdens of the family and, sure, might taunt him for his lack of attentiveness. But she can’t break out of the cycle of his emotional and intellectual indifference, hysterical violence, then shamed remorse, then around again.

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The performances are richly shaded, which means then that the answers aren’t as easy as we’d like.


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