TV Movie Review of ‘Five’ on Lifetime, (Breast Cancer Awareness)

by on October 16, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

A review of the TV movie Five, that aired on the Lifetime Channel.

FIVE TV-Movie promo poster

Five is a TV movie about the experiences of five different families with the affliction of breast cancer. It’s a collective, an anthology of five stories from different women going through the experience of dealing with breast cancer.

(Did you know that 1 in 8 women contract this disease?)

The five stories each have a different director… Jennifer Aniston, Patty Jenkins, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore & Penelope Spheeris. The movie is produced by Jennifer Aniston. There are also five different writers, but the premise of the different stories comes from Wendy West (Dexter, The Closer, Law & Order: SVU.).


Ava Acres in FIVE as the young Pearl

Ava Acres in FIVE as the young Pearl

Charlotte is the first chapter the movie opens to, taking place in the 60’s, we here Walter Cronkite on the TV, talking about the first man on the moon. We seem to be following around a little girl named Pearl, who is watching everyone around her. Charlotte (Ginnifer Goodwin) is her mother.

In this era, no one tells the children anything. She walks around wondering why so many people are in her home. Charlotte will die from the affliction and this sets things in motion for Pearl.

Pearl goes on to become a doctor, the doctor we see in the other chapters of Five, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn.

Moore directed this segment.

(Did you know that in 2011, there will be 1.6 million new cases of cancer diagnosed?)


Patricia Clarkson in FIVE

Mia is the second story, set “not too long ago.” It opens to a small ceremony taking place between Mia (Patricia Clarkson) and her boyfriend, Mitch Taylor (Tony Shalhoub).

This chapter keeps jumping back several months at a time after a quick scene or two as we experience Mia’s quick journey, but backwards, as she experiences different stages of her battle with breast cancer.

Clarkson pulls off a great, sarcastic and humorous Mia where you can’t help but laugh at things from her perspective. Hell, she even has her own funeral staged so she can be at it. This is also the chapter that pissed me off the most because her husband leaves her because of the affliction. I was just stunned that a man could abandon his wife at a time like this because of something he’s not comfortable with. (My choice words are edited here.)

Aniston directed this segment.

(Did you know that in 2011 there will be over 550 thousand fatalities caused by cancer.)


Lyndsy Fonseca and Taylor Kinney in FIVEWe open in a stripper joint… where Cheyanne (Lyndsy Fonseca) is an exotic dancer and her husband Tommy (Taylor Kinney) is an enforcer for the mob. It’s while they’re fooling around at home that he finds her breast cancer.

She has the genetic form of the disease and she and her husband have to deal with the premise of having both breasts removed.

This story has a surprise emotional bit of content. For the stripper losing her assets, and her thug boyfriend who can’t seem to come up with any other reason why he loves her. But he does love her, beyond the obvious. We experience both of their fears and frustrations, and as the man, Tommy wants to fight, but doesn’t know what to fight with.

Cheyanne does have her double mastectomy and this was the surprise feel-good story in the bunch.

Directed by Spheeris.


Rosario Dawson and Tracee Ellis Ross in FIVE

Lili opens with (Rosario Dawson) meeting her mom and sister for lunch. Her mom thinks she has big news, by telling her daughters she isn’t dying her hair anymore. It’s here that Lili tells her mom she has breast cancer and getting a lumpectomy.

With Lili, it’s detected early enough. It’s also in this chapter that Lili encounters Mr. Dinlear in the oncology center, played by Jeffrey Tambor. Tambor hits it out of the park for me for a few reasons.

In this story, we see the interaction with a woman who is severely independent and resists the support her family wants to give her, no matter how doofy they are. It’s here we encounter the fact that a small percentage of men get breast cancer. Tambor plays the lone man, dealing with his experience with no support and he while Lili tries to assert her independent side by chasing off her family, he steps up to let her know how lucky she has family there.

This, along with Mia, was my other powerful chapter. To see Lili realize she needed her family…

This was a cute chapter. Lili’s family is doofy, cute, and never listens to her. Her sister is played by Tracee Ellis Ross and their overbearing mother is played by Jenifer Lewis. (BTW: Mom ends up promising to take care of Mr. Dinlear’s dog while he’s in the hospital. LOL)

Directed by Keys.

(In 2007, almost 12 million people had cancer?)


Jeanne Tripplehorn in FIVE

Pearl was the crap statistic chapter. This woman already lost her mom in the Charlotte film. And it hits home that breast cancer doesn’t care who you are.

(There’s a very good chance you know someone whose been affected by breast cancer.)

But this is so important of a chapter because it’s this section that starts out with Pearl narrating, talking us through a crowd of people in a scene, pointing out each person’s connection to the disease. And as I’ve personally discovered, just about anyone you know has had to deal with breast cancer, in one way or another. With either the disease itself, or a family member or close friend. It’s everywhere and non-victims have no clue until they’re dragged into this fight.

Then we see Pearl received her own diagnosis, the oncologist who has helped so many people in her career. Her doctor is played by Bob Newhart.

We experience how she addresses it herself, and telling her own child. Something her father never did when she was a small child, nor can he do now, today.

Directed by Jenkins.

Jeanne Tripplehorn, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Tambor and Taylor Kinney in FIVE

Jeanne Tripplehorn at her own wall, with Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Tambor and Taylor Kinney in FIVE

After Pearl’s story, it’s five years later, and from her story. She and a few other folks are at this wall, her own wall of successes of people who beat this monster, this demon called cancer. And now Pearl herself is joining her patients on the wall she created for her patients.

It’s a tough, funny, and emotional journey we take with all these people. We’ve just experienced Five different little movies, of different stages or stories dealing with breast cancer. It touches on various statistics of the disease but does so with the right combination of emotional delivery. We even deal with someone not surviving the ordeal, but it’s never addressed in words. (If you look at the above image, we see Tommy and his daughter, but Cheyanne is not in the crowd.)

Though the stories don’t go as deep as they could in Five stories, it does a wonderful job showing the basics and giving out patient experiences and some information.

If you’ve been or going through this kind of experience, you’ll recognize many aspects of the movie.

During the commercial interruptions they play an advertisement with Jennifer Aniston selling her self-designed tee-shirts. ALL proceeds from the tee-shirts go to the battle against breast cancer. You can find them over at, their Warrior in Pink program.


Me… here’s my take… I call it

The Power of One Against Breast Cancer

I know it’s scary to address something that may not have afflicted your life … yet. But it is shocking to find out that almost everyone in your life outside your home, has dealt with breast cancer. But you won’t know it.

It’s not like you are going to head to work and start asking your peers if they’ve ever dealt with breast cancer. It’s only when you’ve found yourself tossed in the trenches of the breast cancer battle that people come forward and let you know you’ve just joined a special team of people. So I get it. I get not being totally concerned.

I get that in one airing, the movie of Five only pulled in just over 1 million viewers. I get not “needing” to tune in if you’re not in the middle of the fight. I used to be there. A month ago, I probably would not have been moved enough to want to watch. Or to be as direct as Mia was in her chapter, I didn’t care more than a month ago.

Now I do.

And what I’ve been doing is asking anyone I chat with, if they would take the time and find a place to send just $1 as a charitable contribution in the fight against either breast cancer or cancer. Because if every single person who watched the movie pitched in only a dollar, that would be a nice cache of money to apply from one night against this battle.

As a favor to me, or possibly, to someone you know whose life has been affected by this thing. That’s all. Just $One dollar from one person at a time.

There’s more links and info over at []. You’d be surprised who may end up helping out with just $1.

[Cancer Proceed Sales on Amazon]

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