In Search of My Children
With a failed marriage and three children to care for Vanessa Meyer (Marg Helgenberger - In Good Company) works two jobs to make sure they don't go without. But out of the blue the FBI show up as she illegally hitched a ride on a Navy plane several months earlier and finds herself in front of a judge who plans to make an example of her by sentencing her to 3 months inside. When she gets out and goes to collect her children she discovers they are gone and no one seems to know what has happened to them and no one is willing to help her either to the point that a couple of heavies threaten her with death if she doesn't leave town. Life continues for Vanessa as she is forced to move away and has another failed marriage as well as a fourth child whilst always looking for her children with no joy. That is until two decades later when a journalist picks up on her story and starts investigating.
First things first "Where Are My Children?" is one of those made for TV movies which whilst inspired by a true story is fictionalized. What that means is that there probably was a case where a woman comes out of prison to find her children have disappeared and then many years later ended up reunited, but the details here are probably quite different to the true story. Maybe this is truer than I realise but "Where Are My Children?" simply feels a little too contrived and that makes it hard going because it sets various things up but leaves so many questions unanswered.
The trouble with "Where Are My Children?" is that it tells us something but provides no background to what we see. Take the scene where Vanessa is made an example of for hitching a ride on a Navy plane, there is no explanation to this just a judge who seems vindictive in his sentencing whilst we see some suggested scheming going on by a couple of men sitting in the court room. We also get a lack of depth when it comes to Vanessa's initial search for her children. All we get is a lot of furtive looks by people who are in some sort of position of power to suggest something underhand is going on. When we learn what is going on it is not as shocking as it should be because it is only ever played out at face value rather than delving into what is really going on.
What this means is that "Where Are My Children?" is one of those movies which plays out in front of your eyes but never completely engages your brain because of that lack of depth. And sadly it doesn't get much better when it comes to the characters because they all, including Vanessa, lack depth and motive. This in turn makes "Where Are My Children?" a movie which relies heavily on the actors involved and their likeability which is what Marg Helgenberger brings to her character.
What this all boils down to is that "Where Are My Children?" ends up a disappointing movie because of the flat way in which it plays out with not only a sense of being contrived but also failing to bring depth to the story and answer the questions which are posed.