*some spoilers ahead*
I first saw this film on TV and was so mesmerised that I took the first opportunity to add it to my collection.
Based on a true story, this film depicts Laurie Wade (played by Valerie Bertinelli in an absolutely fascinating and extraordinary performance), a young newlywed woman whose deep troubles are ignored by her apparently willfully-oblivious parents and hidden from everyone but her husband. Her slow spiral into mental illness is depicted with - as anyone who's ever known anyone who suffers in a similar way - unerring accuracy, as she is unable to cope with daily life and then becomes destructive, storing rotting meat and writing numbers on walls compulsively, until the fateful day when she makes her way to the local school with a gun in her hand.
Not only does Valerie Bertinelli depict Laurie Wade's descent so realistically, it's also heartbreaking to watch, to the point that - no matter how terrible her behaviour becomes - I could never find myself feeling anything but sorry for her. The supporting cast is also very strong, especially Stephen Caffrey as her beleaguered husband, desperately trying to help his wife and completely powerless to do so.
This is a gripping film that keeps you on the end of your seat the whole way through. Whether you enjoy true movies, or just enjoy strong psychological dramas, I would urge you to add this to your collection.