'Pearl in the Mist' Review: Lifetime's historical drama offers a very different take on the bond twins share

'Ally McBeal' fans will be disappointed to see Gil Bellows, who plays Billy, wasted in a small role in this film


                            'Pearl in the Mist' Review: Lifetime's historical drama offers a very different take on the bond twins share
Raechelle Banno and Karina Banno star in 'Pearl in the Mist' (Lifetime)

If you thought twins always share a special bond, 'Pearl in the Mist' centers around Ruby (Raechelle Banno) and Gisele (Karina Banno) who will give you a very different perspective of twins. Whether it's pretending to be invalid to get more attention or framing her sister for an affair with the groundskeeper at their posh private school, Gisele goes out of her way to make Ruby's life as difficult as possible.

She even ensures Ruby's best friend Abby (Sage Linder) at the school is shamed into leaving because of her "mixed heritage" and that Ruby's favorite art teacher, who is gay, is fired by the school for "questionable morals".

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In case you're wondering which century these people live in, 'Pearl in the Mist' is set in 1962 when issues of race and lineage came up often. It's something Ruby herself has to contend with. Unlike her twin sister who she only became aware of later in life, Ruby was raised by her grandmother in the bayou. There are plenty of references to Ruby being a "swamp creature" and not very trustworthy.

'Pearl in the Mist' stars Raechelle Banno and Karina Banno (Lifetime)

To add to Ruby's woes, her beloved father Pierre (Gil Bellows) passes away from a heart attack. This leaves Ruby and Gisele at the mercy of their mercenary stepmother who soon takes over the finances. She makes it clear that the girls better stay on her good side if they ever want access to their trust funds when they are 21.

Ruby, in a state of grief, sleeps with her high school sweetheart Beau (Ty Wood) and soon finds herself pregnant. As a result, she is disinherited and her boyfriend is also threatened with the same fate unless he breaks things off with Ruby. A pregnant Ruby then finds herself back at the swamp, where her ex-boyfriend Paul takes care of her and even asks her to marry him so that they can all be a family.

At the end of 'Pearl in the Mist', Ruby gives birth to her daughter Pearl and is considering marriage to Paul. If you can't wait for the next movie on Ruby, well you can read VC Andrews 'All That Glitters' to find out how the Ruby story progresses. Lifetime is adapting all the 'Ruby' series written by VC Andrews into four made-for-TV movies.

Andrews certainly provides plenty of fodder for thrills and excitement. But the way it has been translated to the screen in 'Pearl in the Mist' is nothing short of caricaturish. All the characters are painfully one dimensional. We never see Ruby in a single class even though almost the entire film is set in a school.

We haven't seen so many arched eyebrows since bad soap operas in the eighties. 'Ally McBeal' fans will be saddened to see Gil Bellows, who played Billy on 'Ally McBeal', only has a small role in the film as the twins' father.

What does work for the film are shots of the bayou and we suspect you'll be seeing a lot more of that in the next installment of this franchise, 'All That Glitters'. You can catch on the movie on Sunday, March 21, at 8/7c.

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