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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Hope; redemption; the enduring power of familial love.
Positive Role Models
Carl and Joy White are steadfast and honorable; Ann Pettway is shown as complex: troubled and misguided but ultimately a present parent; Carlina/Nedra is shown as incredibly strong, mature, and forgiving in spite of tumultuous circumstances.
Violence & Scariness
Two women separately rush to the hospital to give birth; one is told her baby didn't make it amid a bloody surgery setting. Some intense scenes of grieving, loss when baby is kidnapped. A woman has a shouting match with police and is put in the back of a cruiser.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A 16-year-old dances seductively with a teenage boy. A teenage girl is said to be pregnant.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman smokes a pipe that appears to contain crack in the bathroom.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Abducted: The Carlina White Story is a dramatization of a true story that only recently resolved: the kidnapping of 19-day-old infant Carlina White from Harlem in 1987, finally reunited with her parents at age 23. The movie shows some intense grief and loss, a marriage destroyed by the kidnapping, and the difficulties in reuniting a family after such a long time separated, as well as White's conflicting feelings toward her birth mother versus the only mother she knew for most of her life. Though the movie never goes for the cheap or sensational angle, these are mature themes that aren't appropriate for very young kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film takes a difficult subject and resists easy sensationalizing or, worse, race or class stereotypes that would render the characters in this film all victims, all saints, or all monsters. Instead, you get a surprisingly nuanced look at what it might be like to suffer the loss of a child to kidnapping, the discovery of one's own identity as a missing person, or the grief of multiple miscarriages, substance abuse, and troubled existence that might lead to committing a horrible crime such as kidnapping.
The facts here are sensational enough on their own, and although there are some intense emotional scenes and one brief scene of illegal drug use, what emerges is a portrait of the complex mix of grief and anger that this case produced, keeping the focus on how White could reconcile her feelings for the woman who simultaneously stole her life and loved her like her own child. There are mature themes here but a lot of good discussion potential about what it looks like when a TV network known for lurid storytelling takes a subtler approach.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.