Anne Heche performs at the highest level in one of her last roles

GITM_05272022_RP_1321.jpg (Left to right) Larissa Dias and Anne Heche star in Girl in Room 13 ©2022 A+E Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Ryan Plummer / Courtesy of A+E Networks and Lifetime

Ryan Plummer/A+E Networks/Lifetime

When the actress Anne Heche deceased last month, at the age of 53, there was a feeling she deserved bigger and more consistent success in Hollywood.

She had a small acumen, something but not quite like Holly Hunter’s, and the suggestion of a restless, hard-to-tame intelligence and spirit. However, she never stopped working and left behind several unpublished productions. One of them, the movie Girl in room 13premieres tonight on Lifetime.

Realized by Elisabeth Röhm, Room 13 is a serious, no-frills drama that tackles the American underbelly of sex trafficking, a shadowy entrepreneurial ring that, we’re told in an on-screen note at the end, depends on “help from the hospitality industry, the banking system to launder money, the transportation industry and internet platforms to recruit and advertise their victims.” The subject of the film, in fact, triggered conspiracy speculation on social media this Room 13 had something to do with Jeffrey Epsteinand that this connection was responsible for the fiery car crash that caused Heche’s death.

This is our world. But no: Room 13 is about a suburban New Jersey family in crisis.

RELATED: Anne Heche’s last performance at Girl in room 13 It was “a tour de force”, says director Elisabeth Röhm

GITM_05272022_RP_1321.jpg (Left to right) Larissa Dias and Anne Heche star in Girl in Room 13 ©2022 A+E Networks, LLC.  All rights reserved.  Photo credit: Ryan Plummer / Courtesy of A+E Networks and Lifetime

GITM_05272022_RP_1321.jpg (Left to right) Larissa Dias and Anne Heche star in Girl in Room 13 ©2022 A+E Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Ryan Plummer / Courtesy of A+E Networks and Lifetime

Ryan Plummer/A+E Networks/Lifetime

Heche plays Janie, whose daughter Grace (Larissa Dias) has just returned home from the latest of several stints in rehab — she became addicted to opioids as treatment for a sports injury. “I’m a little worried about taking care of her too much,” Janie told her husband (Matt Hamilton). “I’m afraid she’ll relapse.”

But Grace’s only mistake turns out to be that she’s overconfident: she meets Richie (Max Montesi), a drug dealer with whom she had apparently had a relationship, to give him money which he says is he needs to pay his grandson’s expenses. hospital bill. It’s All a Ruse: Richie – a moron whose vile ambitions make his stupidity even more dangerous – kidnaps Grace, hides her in a motel room and begins drugging her, setting her up to be sold on the traffic market sexual.

RELATED: Anne Heche was a ‘heroine’ for victims of violence, says Girl in room 13 Directed by Elisabeth Röhm

Meanwhile, everyone who knew Grace is resigned to her disappearance: she’s probably taking drugs again, what to do? Janie, however, is convinced something terrible has happened and fights with the police and even her husband, urging them to take action to find Grace. Day by day, hour by hour, Janie grows more surly, angry, and frantic.

It’s an important role for Heche, and also a punitive one, requiring him to play at what seems like the highest pitch, and then higher than that. But underneath is the strong and constant power of maternal love – Heche gives it to us too.

Girl in room 13 premieres tonight on Lifetime at 8 p.m. ET.

Dora W. Clawson