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 stumbled onto this movie accidentally in a motel while searching for something else. Because some things were familiar, I might have seen it years ago but forgot (though I obviously didn't review it here). On the other hand, some of it wasn't familiar at all.
I don't want to criticize the performances of the actors playing Elizabeth's parents. Their depiction of what the parents were going through could have been accurate. But something just seemed off about the father.
What stood out the most for me is the way the family celebrated holidays. They no longer seemed to be grieving, but remembered the happy times and hoped for Elizabeth to return. Surely their faith played a role, and these were wonderful scenes.
I found it curious the police sketch artist was not called in sooner. But Detective Mitt Romney (seriously, if someone wants to just cast this actor in the role based on appearance, he's perfect) didn't seem all that interested in trying to solve the case. The cops tried too hard, according to this movie, to blame the parents or a man who seemed innocent. Weren't the poor parents going through enough? Tom Everett as the kidnapper was a very convincing wacko. As much as the Smarts showed what faith in God should be, Emmanuel showed what it shouldn't. And Emmanuel's female companion just stood there and took the abuse from him. Elizabeth was too scared of what might happen to her family, but she did try to get away.
I saw this on Lifetime, and while this is not a monumental achievement, that's where it belongs.
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