'Miriam'

So bad it doesn't ever approach being good, doesn't even go from bad to good and back to bad again—just bad bad bad, all the way through. "Based on a true story," Miriam recounts the life of a young Jewess (played by Telly Savalas's daughter, Ariana Savalas) growing up in Lithuania just before the war. Raped by locals and ripped from her family by the Nazis, she uses her surprisingly Aryan good looks to escape. Taken in by a pharmacist and his barren wife, Miriam serves as an assistant at the shop and a maid at home, before getting raped (repeatedly) by the very man who saved her. Pregnant, with nowhere else to go, she bears the pharmacist's child, then takes his wife's identity after she dies of pneumonia. But while he may sleep with a Jew, the pharmacist won't accept Miriam as mother to his only child. So Miriam ends up on her own, armed with a new Christian identity, and, after a short marriage to a kind KGB agent—no, really—she finds it almost impossible to reclaim her Jewish identity. So poorly shot, woodenly acted, lazily written, and shoddily produced, the first 20 minutes seem almost excusable as an experiment in the banality of evil. But try telling yourself that after two hours, and see how clever you feel.

 
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