Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey
By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Girl uses smarts to escape from rapist; violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's good to be both lucky and smart. Many kids are secretly abused by the people who are supposed to be taking care of them.
Positive Role Models
Lisa repeatedly demonstrates uncanny intelligence, presence of mind, and an ability to plan even under the most abusive and threatening circumstances.
Violence & Scariness
A man repeatedly rapes his girlfriend's teenaged granddaughter, with the grandmother's approval. A grandmother says her young granddaughter will learn how to treat a man, preparing the girl to be raped. A teenaged girl is grabbed off the street by a rapist-murderer and held for several days bound and blindfolded while he rapes her. He drags her and treats her harshly. He takes her to a secluded spot to shoot her, but lets her go.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol. It's suggested that at least one is alcoholic and abusive.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey is a brutal account of a kidnapping and sexual assault of a 17-year-old Florida girl. Based on true events, the step-by step reenactment will be tough for most viewers as the multiple sexual assaults are clearly communicated even without nudity and graphic details. Lisa had also been abused by an alcoholic mother and a grandmother who allowed her boyfriend to rape the underage girl. The horrors of her attacks set up the rest of the action for an informative police procedural. Language includes "bitch." Adults drink alcohol.
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Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey
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What's the Story?
BELIEVE ME: THE ABDUCTION OF LISA MCVEY is a brutal account of a 1984 kidnapping and sexual assault of a 17-year-old Florida girl named Lisa McVey (Katie Douglas). McVey had also been abused by an alcoholic mother and a grandmother (Kim Horsman) who allowed her boyfriend (Bruno Verdoni) to rape the underage girl. The abuse continued as even the police didn't believe her report of her ordeal, partly because her descriptions seemed too detailed to be credible. All that changes when Sgt. Larry Pinkerton (James Elliott), head of sex crimes, takes her at her word and sees the connection between her story and the recent rape-murders of numerous local women. The horrors of Lisa's attacks, however difficult to watch, set up the rest of the action for an informative police procedural. Lisa wasn't sure she'd survive, but she planted her fingerprints, hair samples, and blood all around the perpetrator's apartment and car in the hopes that if she didn't live at least her efforts might help the police catch the guy. Note that the perpetrator was caught based on McVey's invaluable help. After murdering at least 10 women, he pled guilty and was sentenced to numerous life sentences in 1985. Although he was eventually sentenced to death, a series of reversals delayed his execution by the state of Florida until May 19, 2019.
Is It Any Good?
Once the action in Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey focuses on the investigation leading to the capture of Lisa's attacker, director Jim Donovan provides a gripping and satisfying narrative. Lisa's high intelligence, astounding eye for detail, and unusual ability to recall the tiniest but most helpful particulars has the audience rooting for her all the way. The movie emphasizes how she used her skills for placating her uncaring mother and grandmother and the grandmother's sexually-abusive boyfriend to save herself from her murderous abductor. Katie Douglas gives a searing performance of a girl with courage and smarts to spare.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about a parent's responsibility to kids. What kind of mother do you think Lisa McVey had? What kind of grandmother?
Why do you think the police didn't believe McVey at first? What are some prejudices police officers may bring to crimes involving teens? How much do you think McVey's youth and female-ness influenced the way police treated her at first?
Why do you think McVey became a law enforcement officer herself?
- In theaters: September 30, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2021
- Cast: Katie Douglas, David James Elliott, Rossif Sutherland, Kim Horsman, Bruno Verdoni
- Director: Jim Donovan
- Studio: Lifetime
- Genre: Drama
- Character Strengths: Courage
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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