Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story (1991)
Jill Ireland faced many challenges in her life. She battled cancer; her adopted son was addicted to drugs; her father suffered an incapacitating stroke; even her cherished holiday house was flooded during a violent storm! How then can a biopic which covers all these events be so damned boring?
The answer partly lies in the fact that the movie would have been more appropriately titled “The Jason McCallum Story”. Based on Ireland’s book ‘Life Lines’, the movie focuses primarily on her son’s battle with drugs. Yet even this is blandly depicted, mostly showing him entering and leaving the hospital, with precious little time devoted to the effects of his illness or his much talked about treatment.
Revealing she had learned nothing from her experience in Gable and Lombard, Jill Clayburgh once again finds herself acting opposite not one, but two actors unable to reciprocate her affection. The first, her son, is hindered by the fact he is playing a drug addict. The second, Lance Henriksen, is equally hamstrung by the fact he’s portraying Charles Bronson. Though Bronson was never noted for his dramatic range on-screen, Henriksen underplays his character to the point of stupor, giving the distinct impression he would rather be somewhere else.
He may have been assisted in this endevour by the director's seeming satisfaction with every first take, which lends an amateurish feel to the entire production.
Jill Ireland wrote the book this movie is based on, and was heavily involved in its production before she died. As such, there are no obvious factual discrepancies.
No scene recreations in this biopic nor any depiction of the star’s film careers.