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Tv Review : Husband, Wife Reunited As 'Intimate Strangers'

January 01, 1986|LEE MARGULIES | Times Staff Writer

Even to begin to believe "Intimate Strangers," a new TV movie airing at 9 tonight on Channels 2 and 8, you must buy the premise that an American soldier who had spent nearly 10 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam would be returned to civilian life in 1985 without any transitional counseling or ongoing support services to help in the adjustment.

But even if you accept that implausible notion, you're left with a pair of cardboard characters and equally flat performances by Teri Garr and Stacy Keach that further erode credibility.

Garr plays an Army nurse who, on the final day of the Vietnam War in 1975, is separated from her physician husband (Keach) and captured by the North Vietnamese.

After more than nine years in captivity, she escapes and returns to the United States with a Vietnamese boy whom she wants to raise as her son. Husband and wife are happily reunited and immediately attempt a life of tranquil domesticity.

Much to their surprise, however, it doesn't go so tranquilly.

Although there are occasional flashbacks of the years she spent caged and tortured, the prisoner-of-war angle is basically just the topical shroud on a superficial melodrama about a woman trying to establish her own identity.

The husband, despite having had his comfortable life disrupted by the unexpected arrival of an unstable wife and a child he doesn't know, is an archetype of understanding whose love helps pull her through.

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