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Upstanding citizen Ed Smart lives happily with his wife and five children in Salt Lake City. Until youngest daughter Mary Katherine is the traumatized sole witness to the kidnapping from their home of sister Elisabeth. After treating Ed and eldest Charles as prime suspects for statistics' sake, undermining initially wide community support, they concentrate on jailed pedophile Richard Ricci. For years, the investigation goes nowhere, even after if becomes clear Ricci is probably Innocent. The lunatic kidnapper, homeless handyman turned mini-sect prophet 'Emmanuel', and his blindly-devoted airhead wife meanwhile indoctrinates 'adopted, chosen' Elisabeth, but fate and his alcohol demon bring him to the footlights. Written by
The attempted kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart's cousin was in fact neither a coincidence nor a practical joke. Though unexplained in the film, Elizabeth often talked about her close relationship with her cousin, Olivia Wright, to her captors, inadvertently telling them where she lived and that she was close to her in age. Brian Mitchell, as part of his plan to take multiple wives, decided that Olivia would be his next victim, but the kidnapping attempt was unsuccessful when the family was awakened by the noise, causing Mitchell to flee the scene. Mitchell later unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap another girl while in San Diego. See more »
When Elizabeth is shown playing the harp it is very obvious that she isn't actually playing, as the movements of her fingers do not match the soundtrack. See more »
I live in Utah, and was around for most of the events depicted in the film. I was even recruited for search parties. Having seen everything first hand and then seeing it on the small screen, I realized that this version took various liberties with the story, especially in terms of Elizabeth's reactions to her captors and her rescue (it was Elizabeth who asked a police officer, "You think I'm that Elizabeth Smart girl everyone's looking for, don't you?", not the other way around).
Was it a good movie? Perhaps. I think it did a good job at capturing some of the emotions of the family (it almost entirely skips any depiction of the emotions of the entire state, who were all united in their concern for Elizabeth). I think that the movie was terribly unfair to the local police (who were handling the case as they had to, even if it wasn't to the satisfaction of the Smart family), and that it skewed enough events so that I can't accept anything from the movie as fact. The movie also failed to address the traumas that Elizabeth must have suffered in captivity, but I agree with the producers that it would not have been right to do so.
It's an okay movie, just don't base your opinions or perceptions of Elizabeth Smart's abduction, captivity, and return on what you saw in this movie.
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