If These Walls Could Talk

If These Walls Could Talk Information

If These Walls Could Talk is a 1996 made-for-cable film, broadcast on HBO. It follows the plights of three different women and their experiences with abortion. Each of the three stories takes place in the same house, 22 years apart: 1952, 1974, and 1996. All three segments were co-written by Nancy Savoca. Savoca directed the first and second segment while Cher directed the third. The women's experiences in each vignette are designed to demonstrate the popular views of society on the issue in each of the given decades.

Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival, If These Walls Could Talk became a surprise success and was the highest-rated movie in HBO history. It was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Miniseries or Television Film.



The 1952 segment deals with Claire Donnelly (Demi Moore), a widowed nurse living in suburban Chicago, who becomes pregnant by her brother-in-law (Jason London) and decides to undergo abortion in order not to hurt her late husband's family. However, abortion at the time is strictly illegal. Claire eventually finds another nurse (CCH Pounder) who provides her the phone number of a woman who can find her someone to perform the abortion. The woman on the phone tells Claire that the only trustworthy abortionist she knows is located in Puerto Rico, and Claire cannot afford the travel costs. After a failed attempt to end her pregnancy with a knitting needle, Claire eventually gets ahold of a man who comes to her home and performs a clandestine procedure on her while she lays on top of a kitchen table. Claire finally manages to abort, but dies shortly afterwards due to hemorrhage.


The 1974 segment deals with Barbara Barrows (Sissy Spacek), a struggling and aging mother with four children and a policeman husband who works the night shift, who discovers she must welcome another addition to the family, despite having recently gone back to college. She considers abortion with the support of her teenage daughter (Hedy Burress) but ultimately chooses to keep the child.


The 1996 segment deals with Christine Cullen (Anne Heche), a college student who got pregnant by a married professor, decides on an abortion when he breaks up with her and only offers her money. After consulting with her roommate (Jada Pinkett Smith), she makes an appointment with Dr. Beth Thompson (Cher). However, the abortion takes place during a violent protest, and an abortion protester (Matthew Lillard) walks in on the operation and shoots Dr. Thompson.


1952 segment:

  • Demi Moore - Claire Donnelly
  • Shirley Knight - Mary Donnelly
  • Catherine Keener - Becky Donnelly
  • Jason London - Kevin Donnelly
  • CCH Pounder - Jenny Ford
1974 segment:

1996 segment:


As executive producer, Moore spent seven years trying to get the film made, until the project was eventually greenlit by HBO. HBO vice president Colin Callender said "I don't believe there's a studio in the world that would finance this picture" and praised Moore and Cher for having the courage to use their celebrity to address the issue of abortion. Cher commented "It took someone with Demi's power and fortitude to have something like this made. Without that power, you couldn't do it. These topics are not on everybody's top 10 list of things to do."

Awards and nominations

  • Emmy Awards
    • Outstanding Made for Television Movie (nomination)
    • Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or a Special - Single Camera Production (nomination)
    • Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Special (nomination)
  • Golden Globe Awards
    • Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (nomination)
    • Best Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Demi Moore (nomination)
    • Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Cher (nomination)
  • NAACP Image Awards
    • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series – Jada Pinkett Smith (nomination)
  • National Educational Media Network, USA
    • Gold Apple (won)
  • Satellite Awards
    • Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (nomination)
    • Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Cher (nomination)
  • Women in Film [[Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards|Crystal + Lucy Awards]]
    • [[Women_in_Film_Crystal_+_Lucy_Awards#THE_LUCY_AWARD|Lucy Award]] (2000) to the Creators and Cast of If These Walls Could Talk and If These Walls Could Talk 2
      • in recognition of excellence and innovation in a creative work that has enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "If_These_Walls_Could_Talk" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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