Also known as Locked Up: A Mother’s Rage, The Other Side of Love is a 1991 television film, based on a true story, about how a woman wrongly sent to prison copes with being separated from her children.
This film stars Cheryl Ladd, who plays Annie Gallagher, a single mother who works as a waitress to support her three children. One of her patrons asks her out on a date – sure, why not? Then he gives her a packet of money to hold onto for him for some reason. Seems legit.
That night, just as she’s about to go on her date, Annie is stopped by a bunch of police cars and arrested. The guy she was going to go out with is a drug dealer and he’s framed her as his dealer.
Trial and Sentencing
Annie goes to court and her lawyer offers a plea bargain: admit guilt and serve only one year. She rejects the plea, stressing her innocence, but loses the trial and gets the maximum sentence. She sends her three kids to live with her sister and goes to prison.
Once Annie arrives at the prison, the film sort of becomes Orange is the New Black-lite, where she has to get acclimated, fit in, and gradually become friends with the other inmates, like the temperamental Willie, played by Angela Bassett.
The main source of conflict in the film is Annie dealing with not being around her kids and how they’re growing up without her. But she starts adapting by wearing glasses to become smarter, going to the library to read up on the law, and helping the other inmates with their problems.
Annie also works with a social worker (played by Diana Muldaur) to set up a family day where inmates’ kids can visit and hang out with their moms for a few days, that sort of thing.
Years pass, Annie’s sentence is up; she’s released and goes home.
The purpose of this film was to educate people on the issue of mothers behind bars, but it’s dated as hell and felt like an after school special. It was still a fun watch, though. Just don’t go in expecting a deep examination of the American prison system – all it took to fix everything and improve people’s lives in this prison was a beautiful blonde woman wearing glasses. Sure. Okay.
The biggest surprise of this film was that justice wasn’t served for Annie. I kept waiting for her lawyer to continue working on her case so she’d be found innocent and get released. That didn’t happen at all! The dealer got away scot-free, and she had to serve her entire sentence. Damn.