Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Preacher's Daughter


Don't let The Preacher's Daughter fool you--even though there are some censored-out "fucks" in it, it's not a "real" movie. It's a born-for-LMN insta-classic! (OK, I'll admit it, I classify any Lifetime movie with a clergymember and sex in it an insta-classic.) How couldn't it be, with a name like that? According to IMDb, there's never been a TV movie called "The Preacher's Daughter," so a movie had to be written, and it looks like it practically wrote itself. (As did the reality show of the almost-same name.)

The preacher's daughter gets arrested in a leopard-print tank
It won't surprise you to hear that the preacher's daughter, Hannah, has run off the rails. She has tattoos and black hair with a purple streak in it. Her bad-news boyfriend stole money out of her wallet, likes to eat marshmallows out of the bag, and gets busted with her in the car and a bunch of unspecified drugs in the trunk. They both get arrested, and frankly, this whole 15 minutes of the movie was totally wasted. Even though he's apparently a drug dealer, the boyfriend doesn't even seem stoned...I really could have used some old-fashioned Lifetime coke-snorting or something.

Anyway, Hannah and her boyfriend get arrested, and she calls her dad the preacher to come pick her up at jail. In order to get a more lenient sentence, she agrees to go live in his custody again.

The church listens to Teenager Hannah singing
 "The Glory of My Longing," a song so annoying and
so relentlessly played in LMN commercials for this
movie that I still get it stuck in my head on occasion.
Then the movie flashbacks to when Hannah was a blonde teenager. If you're like me, though, you're fucking around on the internet or otherwise distracted, and you don't realize the blonde flashback Hannah and the black-and-purple-haired Hannah are the same person, and think that they're sisters or something. (In my defense, as a teenager she isn't allowed to wear make-up, and as a black-haired 20-something she piles the eyeliner on. I didn't realize they were the same actress.)

These trips down memory lane begin when she's not only blonde, but clean-cut, wearing modest clothing and attending her dad's sermons with the rest of her family. There's a hot "music minister" whose job consists of 1) directing the congregation during hymns and 2) giving Hannah personal music lessons. The Hot Music Minister spends a lot of time getting her to sing from her diaphram by placing his hands all over it, which naturally leads to bear hugs from behind, which leads to making out in a pew, which leads to unprotected sex in the Sunday school room!!

Andrew Bowen does her best "I just had unprotected sex
with the Hot Music Minister like an hour ago and now
my Preacher Dad is making me sit on his lap" face.
You don't get to see much boo-tay, but there are some close-ups of Hot Music Minister's wedding ring–clad hand caressing her thigh. I can't describe it any better than the commenter "Don-Florida Man" on Lifetime's Preacher's Daughter page, so here's what he has to say:
Was a beautiful thing seeing her give-up her Christian innocence that way. A gentleman, he took it slow, the way any good man should do if they were blessed to have a Christian virgin. And it was Christian lovemaking, she not stopping him as he forever took away her precious virginity. Could see her a na├»ve Christian girl not worried about protection and letting him show her what guys would expect from her.
And how!

The Hot Music Minister angrily throws the racy photo
his teenaged girlfriend left him in her face
Meanwhile, Hannah-of-the-past has befriended Lifetime's favorite maligned stereotype, a goth. She confesses to her friend that she has no idea about contraception because she was homeschooled, and that Hot Music Minister hasn't had sex with his wife since his fourth kid was born. In addition to wearing dark lipstick and dying her hair black, the goth is a photographer, and she takes some sexy pics of her friend, as girls in Lifetime movies are wont to do. But when Hannah leaves them for Hot Music Minister in the church he gets all angry, shocked that a teenager would tell her best gal pal that she was screwing an older man.

This is a Lifetime movie, so all of that sin isn't about to go unpunished. Hannah's pregnant, of course, and when she tells HMM, he seems shocked that he could get a teenager pregnant. It's really hard to feel sorry for a guy who has four kids, is banging his boss's teenaged daughter in a church, and doesn't have the smarts or the respect to put a rubber on it. Meanwhile, poor Hannah is all, "do you think abortion is a sin?"

I thought this move might break the #1 rule of Lifetime movies (no abortions, ever), especially when Hannah and her goth friend make it all the way to an abortion clinic. But a group of angry protesters intimidate the girls into turning the car around, even though that goes against everything we've learned about both characters through the rest of the movie.

Hannah and her goth friend
I said this movie was a Lifetime insta-classic, and it's not just because it has several scenes in a church and is full of Canadians. One of the marks of a truly excellent Lifetime movie is having a twist that makes absolutely no sense. A courtroom awards sole custody of a baby to the guy who raped the 15 year-old who gave birth to it. A young girl is killed after being mowed down by a speeding car on a quiet residential street and her mom vows vengeance on whomever sent her sext to the whole school rather than the manslaughterer. Etc.

Sometimes, like in The Preacher's Daughter, it's a twist so weird that you completely miss it the first time you see the movie, can't believe you actually saw it the second time, and on the third time say, "OK, I'm really going to pay attention during this part because did that really happen?"

Unfortunately, the movie isn't currently available anywhere online, so I'm telling you the following scene from memory. Until it comes back on LMN and you can confirm for yourself, you will just have to take it as Lifetime legend:

Late one night after Hannah and the goth friend were scared away from the abortion clinic never to return, they are parked in the friend's car on the side of the road somewhere. Hannah is all upset because she doesn't know what to do about her growing fetus. Some creepy state trooper dude comes and knocks on the window, and is giving them shit, and the goth girl gives him shit back (because she's goth and hates authority, duh). After telling them that that they should watch out for "the boogeyman" so late at night, he asks why Hannah is so upset and says, "Maybe I can help." And then Hannah says in voiceover, "it turns out he could help," and explains that he had "some pills" that she took and they made her miscarry.

GURL, don't you realize those are the same pills they would have given you at the abortion clinic?? Wouldn't it have been better to get them from a doctor/pharmacist than a shifty-ass state trooper guy? Was he even a state trooper? Did you pay him for these pills??? Why did he have those pills in the first place?? Is this what conservatives think Plan B is?? What did I just see??

So, yeah, apparently she got a back-alley medical abortion and moved away, dyed her hair black, and hooked up with the drug dealer guy from the beginning of the movie. So that's what happened between the time of the flashbacks and the "present day." But it gets even more Lifetimey.

Who could have known it was a wig??
Back in the present day, after moving back in with the 'rents, Hannah reveals that--unlike we all thought--she didn't dye her hair black after all. It's a wig! This movie just doesn't stop with the plot twists. Hannah goes back to being a blonde and gets a job as a waitress at a local restaurant. One day while waiting tables, she's horrified to run into Hot Music Minister, who has his wife and young four children with him! And wouldn't you know, his wife is super pregnant! She talks nicely to Hannah, and then Hannah's like, I'm getting the hell outta here, and has her friend cover that table while she huffs cigarettes out back.

But when she's leaving, HMM is there waiting for her! He's all, "What the hell happened to the flashback storyline? I was in it, super-confused as to how I could have knocked up someone who isn't my wife, and the next thing you know you're in the 'present day' again and I'm practically out of the movie!" She tells him about the shifty abortion pills, and he says, "But why didn't you go get an abortifacient from a gynecologist, so that you know it's approved by the FDA?" Just kidding! Of course he doesn't say that. He says nothing, because abortion is a strange and dangerous thing, folks, and no matter how you do it, you're going straight to hell, for sure.

And that's why Hannah never comes home that night--no, not the night of the abortion pill flashback, the night she runs into HMM outside the restaurant. The Preacher Dad goes looking for Hannah, and is momentarily sidetracked by the drug-dealing boyfriend from the beginning of the movie who's come to town to see her. Preacher Dad attacks him, painfully pinning his shoulder behind his back and demanding to know where his daughter is before he even politely asks for information. The drug-dealer doesn't know, so the dad heads to the restaurant, where Hannah's coworker tells him about seeing her with "the clean-cut guy who brings his family in here" and that Hannah seemed uncomfortable. Preacher Dad is all, OMG, that must have been Hot Music Minister, and he must have gotten Hannah pregnant and that's why she left town! There's a flashback where HMM tries to resign but won't say why, and Preacher Dad won't let him. Now it all makes sense!

Hannah is so weak after her dip in the baptismal font that
HMM has to carry her from his car all the way up the stairs into
her room (apparently) while her mom yells "Oh my heavens!"
Luckily, HMM knows exactly where Hannah has run off to. The baptistery at the church, of course! (What? I know, I don't get it either.) He arrives there just as she has plunged into the baptismal water...I guess maybe to kill herself...or something? I think she just wanted to see her hair swirl around dramatically, but HMM plucks her right out of there and carries her home.

Hannah has a younger brother of the typical Lifetime variety, a very minor character on the sidelines who is there to show the effects of his family being ripped apart and maybe insert some comedy in the beginning and end of the movie. Here, he tries to throw a punch at HMM after his dad confronts him about his relationship with his daughter, and Preacher Dad stops him, saying that they don't do that in this family. (Yes, the same guy who almost broke the drug-dealer dude's arm.)

Hannah and her goth friend, who now wears colorful sweaters
Well, there isn't much left to the movie after that. Hannah reunites with her goth friend, who no longer wears black bracelets and heavy makeup, and they share some knowing comments about old times in a park. For a moment, it looks so indie-movie that you almost forget all the epic Lifetimeyness you just witnessed.


The Preacher's Daughter isn't on LMN's current schedule but it's available on RedBox with a strangely designed cover that has nothing to do with the movie.

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