Miriama Smith and George Henare in Stolen (2010)

The Story of Baby Kahu

"Stolen" is the 2010 documentary style dramatization of the true story of the kidnapping of baby Kahu Durie, the adopted baby daughter of High Court judge Justice Sir Eddie Durie and lawyer Donna Hall. Now from a movie reviewers point of view the dramatization of a true story about a baby being abducted is not unusual but this is the first I have seen which is from New Zealand. Unfortunately whilst it means I am presented by some actors I have never come across before the actual nature of the story, how things play out right down to the story grabbing the public's interest is the same as what you will find in those other made for TV movies. It makes it no better or worse than say an American made for TV movie about a baby being abducted.

Having said that the true story does have one aspect which makes it different and the adopted child was actually adopted from a relative. It leads to an extra element of tension between the families as to what should be done. But it is for me the only real difference you will find between this and other TV movies

In truth what is actually more interesting is what happened behind the scenes as it is said that this dramatization was made with out the families blessing and couldn't be stopped due to it being a public interest story. Other accounts say the family saw the scripts and asked for amendments to be made. What ever actually happened it brings in to question whether direct retellings of true stories are right as you have the future of the real people to consider. It also limits the appeal of the dramatization to those who are already aware of what happened where as a movie inspired by and which changes the names and takes liberties with the facts would have greater appeal as a piece of drama.

What this all boils down to is that if you have ever watched one of those American made for TV movies about a child going missing then in "Stolen" you are about to watch something similar except in this case it is a New Zealand movie based on a New Zealand true story.