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When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story

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When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story
Written byWilliam G. Borchert
Camille Thomasson
Directed byJohn Kent Harrison
StarringWinona Ryder
Barry Pepper
John Bourgeois
Rosemary Dunsmore
Ellen Dubin
Theme music composerLawrence Shragge
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerTerry Gould
CinematographyMiroslaw Baszak
EditorRon Wisman
Running time95 minutes
Production companyHallmark Hall of Fame
Original release
ReleaseApril 25, 2010 (2010-04-25)

When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story is a 2010 American film that premiered on CBS on April 25, 2010. The film was produced by Terry Gould, directed by John Kent Harrison and written by William G. Borchert, who based the script on his 2005 novel of the same name.


In 1914 Lois Burnham, a college-educated woman from an affluent family, meets and falls in love with Bill Wilson, a 19 year old man of modest means. They marry in 1918 and after his return from World War I, the two set out to build a life together.

While Lois works as a nurse Bill struggles to find his niche. Lois believes that Bill is destined for greatness and despite his increasing reliance on alcohol, she showers him with love and support.

Eventually, Lois persuades a friend’s husband to hire Bill at his financial firm; by 1927, Bill is working on Wall Street and the couple lives a luxurious lifestyle, but despite Lois’s valiant efforts to control his drinking, Bill’s alcoholism spirals out of control. Soon his job, their lifestyle, and their dreams are all gone.

In 1935, after years of struggling to cover for Bill and trying desperately to manage his disease by herself, Lois finally sees him get and stay sober – not through her help, but from the support of a fellow alcoholic, Dr. Bob Smith.

As Bill and Bob attain lasting sobriety and co-found Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois begins to feel neglected. Bill manages to stay sober without her help and she now feels isolated and resentful.

Lois soon discovers she is not alone in her isolation and anger, that there is a vast number of people whose lives and relationships have been devastated because a loved one is an alcoholic or drug addict. To help herself and others like her, she co-founds Al-Anon in 1951.



When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story is the 240th presentation by Hallmark Hall of Fame, the long-running anthology program of American television films. It was based on a novel The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough by William Borchert, which was published September 17, 2005. The film was set primarily in the United States but filmed in Canada.[1]


The film was given mixed reviews by critics. It was released on DVD in Hallmark stores in the United States.

In its original American broadcast on April 25, 2010, When Love is Not Enough was seen by 7.29 million viewers, according to MediaWeek. It was out performed during the same time slot by both Brothers & Sisters and Celebrity Apprentice.[2]

Linda Stasi in the New York Post wrote; "Everyone does a wonderful job in this movie -- but, in the end, it seems more like a rehash of writer William G. Borchert's 1989 'Hall of Fame' movie, My Name Is Bill W. than a real portrait of the woman whose idea helped millions of suffering families."[3]

Mathew Gilbert in The Boston Globe wrote; "This new CBS Hallmark movie does its job effectively enough, bringing us through the ups and downs of Bill and Lois Wilson's marriage as they wrestle with his addiction."[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film has been nominated for several awards:[5]

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Satellite Awards

Emmy Awards

  • Emmy Award for Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special - Lawrence Shragge (nomination)


  1. ^ "Setting and filming location". The Toronto Sun. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Tv ratings Sunday April 25, 2010". The TV Addict website. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  3. ^ Stasi, Linda (23 April 2010). "New York Post Review". New York Post. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (24 April 2010). "Boston Globe Review". Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  5. ^ Awards for When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story IMDB. Retrieved on 19 December 2010

External links[edit]