The title of Sunday's Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS, "Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness," just about removes all of the mystery surrounding the events in the film.
Based on a true story, "Crossroads" is a tear-jerker starring Dean Cain as a husband, Bruce Murakami, who has the superhuman ability to forgive a teenager who made a tragic driving mistake that led to the death of Murakami's loving wife and daughter.
The film, which airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on WIVB-TV, illustrates something that has become evident by recent news events in Western New York: Even good teenage boys can make stupid mistakes, especially when driving cars.
You just have to hope that the mistakes only damage cars, rather than lives.
The heavily publicized mistakes of Byron Brown III likely has had one positive effect locally. It presumably has led to many discussions around Western New York between parents and their children about the importance of telling the truth and the realization that it won't affect the love between each other.
"Crossroads" is a film that should further that message, and should be watched together by parents and their children. It follows a familiar Hallmark path of having two goals -- trying to entertain while teaching a positive lesson. The lesson here applies to teenagers, who unfortunately aren't often CBS movie fans.
Cain, best known as Superman in the ABC series, "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," plays a contractor who doesn't have time to smell the roses or to try and understand his younger, musically inclined, moody son, Brody (Landon Liboiron).
Murakami's world collapses after his wife and adopted daughter die in a tragic accident that initially is believed to be his wife's fault. A desperate Murakami eventually persuades a prominent local defense lawyer, Erin Teller (a slimmer, more serious Peri Gilpin of "Frasier"), to determine what really happened. With the help of strategically placed security cameras, the investigation leads to a clean-cut teenager, Justin Gutierrez (Shiloh Fernandez).
In one brain-dead moment, Justin got involved in a street-racing incident that shattered the lives of two families. Justin, who was willing to accept the consequences, wasn't the image of a villain that Murakami expected and gradually we're off the road of revenge toward forgiveness.
"Crossroads" also veers into a side story about the competition that Brody seems to feel he has for his father's attention and love with his older, caring brother, Josh (Ryan Kennedy).
"I walk around the house and feel like I'm invisible," Brody laments. The father-moody son relationship elevates "Crossroads" beyond the usual stilted, predictable film.
Even if you are bored by the phony courtroom suspense and can see practically everything coming, I dare you to watch it without tearing up in the final 15 minutes.
Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness
Review: 2 1/2 stars (out of four)
9 p.m. Sunday on WIVB-TV