The Book by James Dalessandro
Published in 1999, Citizen Jane is a non-fiction novel written by James Dalessandro and David Menhert. It covers Jane Alexander’s attempts to find the con artist who murdered her aunt. Daleessandro was made aware of Jane’s story through a newspaper article. He was able to glean details for the book through excerpts from Jane Alexander’s diary that she kept during her quest for justice. Menhert was a student of Dalessandro’s who contributed to the project; Alexander herself, by that time a grandmother also helped with the book.
In 2009, Hallmark purchased rights to the book and made a movie out of it. In the story, Alexander is a well off widow with a boyfriend by the name of Tom O’Donnell. O’Donnell is a con man who seduces Alexander for her money.0
Alexander’s aunt was murdered in 1983. Unsatisfied with the results of the case, Alexander hires private detective Jack Morris to solve the case and eventually Morris deems Alexander’s boyfriend the prime suspect. At that point, O’Donnell steals 10,000 from Alexander and goes on the run.
The remainder of the novel covers Alexander’s 13 year quest to find O’Donnell and ensure that he is brought to justice. Eventually, O’Donnell is captured and dies in prison.
Analyzing the Plot of Citizen Jane
The plot of Citizen Jane might seem to be straightforward on the surface. While it’s based on real life events, the movie has the same basic structure as any mystery novel. There’s a murder, a number of suspects, some twists, turns and false leads and, finally, a revelation of the killer’s true identity.
But Citizen Jane contains a number of deep, surprising themes. The movie is ultimately about truth versus deception, about the various ways that we trust people we shouldn’t–and fail to trust the people we should. As the title of the movie implies, at the center of the story is Jane Alexander. Alexander starts off as a naive widow. Her boyfriend Tom O’Donnell is a flashy con artist. He’s been living off of his charm, convincing people to invest their money in his fictitious business ventures.
When O’Donnell’s schemes start to fail, he turns to murder and theft. In this time of crisis, Alexander finds her strength. She partners up with police officer Jack Morris. Through years of persistence, courage and smart investigating, the two are able to put O’Donnell behind bars for first degree murder. This points us to the most important theme of Citizen Jane: justice. Justice, in the movie’s world, is not inevitable. It requires hard work and dedication.
Meat Loaf’s Role in Citizen Jane
The Hallmark Channel film “Citizen Jane” is a compelling look at the lengths people will go to to fight for justice. This willingness to do what is right is exemplified in the film by the role of Detective Morris. The legendary rock singer Meat Loaf plays the detective.
Meat Loaf’s role is an interesting one in that he serves as the catalyst for the action. When Jane Alexander, played by Ally Sheedy, is at her wit’s end to find out the truth about her dead relative, she turns to Detective Morris to find out the killer. Get more information here.
Once the detective learns the truth about the murder, he must convince Jane. This is an especially tricky task asked of Meat Loaf, as he must be believable as a hard-nosed detective yet remain sympathetic to Jane’s plight.
As the movie moves forward, Jane and the detective continue to hone in on the activities of Jane’s former boyfriend and soon realize that they are dealing with an extremely manipulative human being. Jane looks to the detective to help outwit this unrelenting con artist so that he can be brought to justice. The role requires a skilled portrayal of a professional that has faced tricky adversaries in the past. Fortunately, Meat Loaf meets the challenge.
What Made Citizen Jane So Awesome
“Citizen Jane” stars Ally Sheedy as a women in search of the truth regarding the murder of her aunt. This search for the truth takes Jane Alexander and Detective Morris, played by Meat Loaf, on a lengthy journey that lasts several years.
There are several reasons why the film works so well.
First, the performances are excellent. Sheedy is entirely convincing as a sheltered widow who has been scammed by her charismatic boyfriend. When this boyfriend turns out to be a low-life capable of committing a serious crime, you want to root for Jane to track him down and bring him to justice. Meat Loaf is equally strong as the detective helping Jane. He knows that she relies on him to help outwit her boyfriend. His cagey performance helps provide comfort for Jane and, in turn, the audience.
The film is unique in that it is exciting and compelling with resorting to over-the-top antics. The movie is based on a true story, and it allows the story to play out as it actually happened without the need for ridiculous plot twists or contrived story lines. Even though the story seems outrageous on the surface, the confident way the story is told makes it much more convincing.