The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2008)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  12 April 2008 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,151 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 3 critic

A father separates his son from his twin sister at birth to prevent him and the mother from knowing she was born with Down syndrome. Based on the novel by Kim Edwards.



(teleplay), (novel)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The life of Bettie Page, a 1950s pin-up model and one of the first sex icons in America, who became the target of a Senate investigation due to her risqué bondage photos.

Director: Mary Harron
Stars: Gretchen Mol, Lili Taylor, Chris Bauer
The Valley of Light (TV Movie 2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Returning from the War, Noah Lark discovers his family is gone. With a passion for fishing, Noah travels to a new town in search of a legendary great bass that has yet to be caught. On his ... See full summary »

Director: Brent Shields
Stars: Chris Klein, Gretchen Mol, Zach Mills
Freshening Up (TV Short 2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A man imagines that his girlfriend has had a fling with another man in the rest room.

Director: Jim Mol
Stars: Adrian Grenier, Gretchen Mol, Murielle Arden
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1963, during the swirl of glamour and intrigue that turned President John F. Kennedy's Washington into Camelot, a lonely 13-year-old Catholic school boy comes of age.

Director: William Olsson
Stars: Gretchen Mol, James Rebhorn, Cameron Bright
Ring Around the Rosie (Video 2006)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

While spending time at her grandparent's secluded summerhouse to clean up the place after her grandmother's death, a young woman is plagued by horrible visions and dreams of tragic past events.

Director: Rubi Zack
Stars: Gina Philips, Tom Sizemore, Jenny Mollen
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

For the love of the beautiful Elena the young fisherman's son Marcello turns a whole village upside down.

Director: Denis Rabaglia
Stars: Francesco Mistichelli, Elena Cucci, Alfio Alessi
The Miracle Worker (TV Movie 2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A television remake of William Gibson's classic play about Annie Sullivan's efforts to draw Helen Keller from her world of darkness, blindness, deafness and silence.

Director: Nadia Tass
Stars: Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Alison Elliott, David Strathairn
Final Run (TV Movie 1999)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

A new, computer controlled train loses control due to an error in the system and speeds out of control while Urich attempts to stop it.

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Robert Urich, Patricia Kalember, John de Lancie
Tenure (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A college professor competes for tenure with a hot-shot female colleague.

Director: Mike Million
Stars: Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol, David Koechner
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A couple grieving the loss of their own daughter set out to rescue young girls sold into the sex slave trade.

Director: Christopher M. Bessette
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino, John Billingsley
Dear Prudence (TV Movie 2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Prudence McCoy is the host of a successful helpful hints TV show, who discovers a hidden talent for crime solving.

Director: Paul Schneider
Stars: Jane Seymour, Jamey Sheridan, Ryan Cartwright
Short | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a technology-less future more akin to the gold-rush era than the 21st century, amidst a devastating drought in California, the film follows our protagonist, Edward, through a ... See full summary »

Directors: Isaiah Seret, Alex Ebert
Stars: Jasmine Albuquerque, Alex Ebert, Jahsua Johnson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. David Henry
Krystal Hope Nausbaum ...
Norah Henry
Emma Colbert ...
Phoebe 6 years
Paul 13 years
Paul 18-22 years
Owen Pattison ...
Paul 6 years
Gay Hauser ...
Department Store Clerk
Bruce Murphy ...
Checkout Clerk
Lita Llewellyn ...
The Minister


On a snowy winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry rushes his pregnant wife Norah to the hospital, where, with help from her husband and nurse Caroline Gill, she delivers their son Paul. However, Dr. Henry discovers that his wife was carrying twins, and helps her deliver the second child, a baby girl named Phoebe. Shortly after Phoebe's birth, he finds that she has Down Syndrome, and hands her over to Nurse Caroline, explaining that the death of his ill sister nearly destroyed their mother and he doesn't want Norah to go through that. Instead, he instructs Caroline to take Phoebe to a nearby institution for the mentally ill, figuring the child won't live much longer, and tells Norah that Phoebe was a stillborn. However, after visiting the institution and seeing the state of the other patients, Caroline takes the baby home with her, stopping along the way to buy formula and diapers. With help from a truck driver named Al, Caroline begins to raise the baby as her own, while Dr. Henry ... Written by scorpionqueenofhearts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El guardián de la memoria  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When David and Phoebe get off the bus, a sign for Dalhousie University is clearly visible in the background. The scene supposedly takes place in Pittsburgh, PA, USA but Dalhousie is in Halifax, NS, Canada. See more »


Nora Henry: [burning the pictures from the darkroom and referring to David] Bastard! That bastard!
See more »


Featured in The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

'In Camera"
12 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER in the form of a novel by Kim Edwards was a highly successful bestseller and probably was featured in more reading groups than any other novel during its circulation. So what happened when the novel became a made-for-television movie? Perhaps it is the below mediocre screenplay (oops!, teleplay!) by John Pielmeier that consistently galumphs along in an awkward pedestrian fashion removing all sense of credibility to the story. Perhaps it is the cut and paste direction by Mick Jackson that misses the pacing and character delineation. Perhaps it suffers from the cinematography of an uncredited source or the 'liquid tears' musical score by Daniel Licht. For whatever of these (or all of these) reasons, this novel-to-film survives because it does make a good case for educating the public about the capabilities of those born with Down Syndrome. And for that it is worthy of attention.

Dr. David Henry (Dermot Mulroney), a successful orthopedic doctor, is married to the beautiful Norah (Gretchen Mol) and their lives are becoming changed by their pregnancy. On a stormy winter night in Kentucky Norah goes into labor and the Henry's rush to a nearby clinic where David delivers his wife (the doctor is caught in a snowstorm) with the assistance of his old friend, nurse Caroline Gill (Emily Watson). After the delivery of a perfect boy child (Paul) Norah continues to be in labor and (surprisingly...) delivers an unexpected (!) twin girl. David and Caroline immediately recognize that the little girl (Phoebe) is a 'mongoloid' (this is before the use of the term Down Syndrome) and David, having a history of losing a little sister because of a birth defect) decides to send Phoebe to an asylum for the mentally challenged: Caroline is to make the delivery and Norah is told the second twin died at birth.

Caroline follows instructions, sees the conditions of the 'home' where Phoebe is to be deposited, shrinks in horror, and decides to keep the child. Aided by a friendly trucker, Caroline changes her solitary existence and mothers Phoebe, finding a new life in her trucker's Pittsburgh. Norah insists on a formal funeral for Phoebe - a fact that deeply disturbs David's psyche, and the Henry's life goes on with only the one child Paul, leaving submerged pains about the lack of Phoebe's presence. Norah gifts David with a camera ('peoples lives are like a camera, that's where they live - in a room captured by a moment') and David becomes obsessed with photography. Norah grieves, drinks, and loses David's attention, while David traces Phoebe's existence with Caroline - sending money and letters to Pittsburgh. Paul (Tyler Stentiford to Jamie Spilchuk) grows up, discovers his mother's infidelities and is angered about his father's lack of communication and understanding, and decides to fulfill his goal of becoming a musician, and off to Juilliard he goes. Meanwhile Phoebe (Krystal Hope Nausbaum) has matured into a very highly adapted young girl, and the manner in which the broken marriage of the Henrys happens and the healing atmosphere of Phoebe's and Paul's lives coupled with the courage that has supported Caroline Gill's struggle to gain acceptance in the world for those born with Down Syndrome forms the conclusion of the film.

The cast of well-known actors tries hard, but only Emily Watson is able to resurrect a credible character from this squishy script. Jamie Spilchuk gives evidence of a young actor with much promise. Dermot Mulroney and Gretchen find it difficult to mold empathetic characters form the corny lines they are given to deliver. The film is a mess, but the message about acceptance of Down Syndrome children and adults is an important one. Grady Harp

9 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why did David tell Nora that she had a baby girl? Twkc
Ugh Lexiii67
is this movie based on a true story? justletgo7
Movie Vs. Book rockonbabe291
Caroline's husband Al? DJSLEELEE
Norah and Phoebe spartanwife
Discuss The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: