It may be hard to believe, but things that happen in real life can look unbelievable on television. Art may imitate life, but if it doesn't adjust it a little, the result can be schmaltz instead of pathos, as "Seizure," a movie on CBS tonight, proves.

The movie is based on the true story of Kathy Morris, a young music student in New York who had a benign brain tumor. When the doctor opened her head to cut it out, the brain inexplicably started swelling.

Now, this really happened. And it may well be that in real life the doctor said, "This is bad, this is really bad." But when a movie doctor looks at a movie brain and says that line, somehow it sounds funny.

The screen boyfriend's reaction to Kathy Morris' tumor: "It's such a total bummer." Later he explains why he deserted in the face of her trauma: "I couldn't stand to see you with your brain scrambled." Replaying our own inarticulateness on the screen does not an illuminating evening make.

The film also suffers from totally uninspired direction by Gerald I. Isenberg, as when the camera keeps jumping back to the fairweather boyfriend during the heroine's big moment of returning to singing. During scenes when she is discovering the limitation of her vision and inability to read, the director makes no attempt to show us what she might be seeing; instead we get more of actress Penelope Milford's pinched face, which is evidently trying to express anguish.

In an effort to compress a complicated and dramatic story into two hours, too many events have been included and not enough explored. The script is full of signposts leading nowhere rather than experiences.

At the end of the movie, the real Kathy Morris is shown singing. It is a credit to her recovery that the viewer cannot tell the distance she had to come in order to perform again. Perhaps if the movie were better, we might better appreciate that journey.