Written by Philip Fracassi
Directed by Joel Soisson
Girl Missing is another Lifetime flick featuring dangerous family secrets and a woman in trouble. Is there an evil man? Of course! There is also murder and a mystery child, and even a bit of atmosphere. It suffers from having few enough characters that the obvious outcome stands out too easily, though the actors try to make up for it by giving great performances.
A young girl is found wandering the forest with no memories of where she came from. 15 years later, she’s turned into Francesca Eastwood and is known as Jane (as in Jane Doe, I’m guessing!), and is a struggling artist collection rejections from galleries and living with her childhood orphan friend, Finch. Things change when she gets a letter about a possible parent match.
Meets her “mom”, Sylvia Knowles, and both of them are all smiles and giggles over the objections of the case worker, Gwen, who points out the DNA test hasn’t even come back yet. No bother, Jane agrees to go visit Sylvia for the weekend, Sylvia convinced she is her missing daughter, Savannah.
It turns out Sylvia is loaded. As in billionaire loaded. And Jane/Savannah’s dad is dead from suicide, Sylvia having married the charming Carlo in the intervening years. If you sense some sort of twisted inheritance plot coming up, congratulations! Besides the obvious direction that turns, Jane occasionally spies a young girl running around the estate. The girl is played by the same actress that played young Jane, and we skirt across spooky right to psychological, as she’s the manifestation of Jane’s missing memories.
That was the best part of Girl Missing, turning the memories into a physical form, and at one point Finch literally explains this to Jane.
Some of the sinister aspects include the long length of time it took for Sylvia to find her missing daughter, despite missing girls being rare enough that if a found girl with amnesia did show up, it would be all over the news. Nancy Grace must not exist in this universe. The film waves it away by claiming Savannah was marked as dead, not missing, but later they claim there is no body and Jane would have been found within a few days of her “vanishing”. So don’t look too close at the sun, I guess? The big estate is on a remote island, which gives a nice excuse for no cell phone service or ways to get out of the house and into a nearby town.
Francesca Eastwood does a good job as Jane, attempting to solve the mystery of her missing memories. And when the going gets tough, Jane runs around with smeared mascara. Kiersten Warren plays a great matriarch that obviously isn’t all there, with a bit of madness peaking out. Federico Dordei as Carlo is the standout, with his character almost being too charming in the beginning. The actor who plays Finch, Russell Charles Pitts, obviously has known Jane for a long time and is the closest to real family she has, enough that they fight like brother and sister and he does things to try to protect her. Too bad he spends most of the film on the phone in front of a computer.
Thanks to IMDB commenter jdus-1, who provided the first piece of valuable information in the history of the IMDB forums by pointing out the mansion is the Glensheen Historic Estate, which has its own murder inheritance story. (The mansion was also used in the film You’ll Like My Mother!) So once again, Lifetime imitates life. I think that’s how that expression goes…
Girl Missing has some good performances, but fails to rise above the rank and file from the vault of Lifetime. Not something worth going out of your way to track down, but good enough to not spend time hunting for the remote.
Rated 6/10 (You see this logo a lot on Lifetime, computer logo cover, bunny, nonghost child, ghost child, this child had art talent from a young age!)
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