I saw "Saint Maybe" on the Hallmark Channel. I don't know what I was thinking. It's a wonderful cast, including Blythe Danner, Mary-Louise Parker, Edward Herrmann, and Thomas McCarthy. I haven't read the book by Anne Tyler, so I can't comment on the transfer from book to screen.
It's the story of a young man named Ian (McCarthy) whose brother Danny (Jeffrey Nordling) marries a flighty young woman named Lucy (Parker) very shortly after meeting her at his post office window, when she wants to mail a bowling ball. Lucy has two children by a previous marriage, and 7 months after marrying Danny, has a third. The baby is said to be premature, but Ian isn't buying it, and is pretty sure the child isn't the deliriously happy Danny's. Constantly called on to babysit, Ian grows more and more suspicious of his sister-in-law over time - she is constantly going out with her girlfriend Dot and coming home with jewelery, scarves, and new clothes, and she seems to need a sitter an awful lot.
One night, when his own date is ruined because Lucy doesn't come home as promised, Danny returns first and drives Ian home. Ian loses his temper and tells Danny all of his suspicions. His brother is very upset and, after dropping off Ian at home, crashes into a tree and dies. If that isn't bad enough, Lucy dies not long afterward of a sedative overdose. Now the question is, what to do with the three orphaned children. The elderly grandparents (Danner and Herrmann) do their best, but guilt-ridden Ian stumbles into a church one night and realizes that he has to make a decision.
I said I don't know what I was thinking because I became very absorbed in this story and cried through most of it, hating myself every step of the way for watching it. It's a very warm, sentimental story with some lovely scenes. It has Hallmark stamped all over it - it's perfect family entertainment about a man who, in looking for forgiveness, finds that he can't undo what happened, but he can create what happens now.
Very good, but have some tissues nearby. Get a bunch ready for an especially poignant scene with Edward Herrmann. Blast him. He's fabulous.