The incest isn't omitted or even down-played.
The TV movie doesn’t gloss over the romantic relationship that forms between Chris and Cathy during their years locked away in the attic. Yeah, the brother and sister develop the wrong kinds of feelings for each other and stuff eventually happens. On an emotional level, I’m not sure the TV movie ever has time to really dig into Chris and Cathy’s torment. But it does set up the nature of their relationship so that we’re made to understand, at least on some level, what’s happening between them leading up to the point where things get physical. The evolution of their relationship doesn’t spring up out of nowhere as it plays out on screen.

Still, it may seem like a bit of a leap for those who haven’t read the book and aren’t fully on board with what’s going on in these characters’ heads. In the book, Chris and Cathy’s relationship evolves due to a combination of adolescent urges, the shared abuse they’ve suffered and the mixture of hurt, rejection, abandonment and misplaced idolization both feel on some level or another toward their mother. It’s a twisted situation to be sure and it's by no means sugarcoated in the books, but Andrews sets it up so that it’s emotional as much as it is dramatic. I’m not sure the TV movie manages to capture all of that, but in terms of its willingness to explore the more taboo nature of the story, which was barely hinted at in the original movie, it doesn't hold back.

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