The Lost Child (TV Movie 2000) Poster

(2000 TV Movie)

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A moving portrait
atzatracy17 March 2002
I was not only touched by Rebecca's situation in "The Lost Child" because it was well-presented (the story), I was touched because I never knew my father until 6 years after he died, and have known none of that side of my family. However, in 1966, I lived in Nazlini, AZ on the Navajo Reservation as a VISTA Volunteer, and my "adopted" family there has remained close all these years. I feel more at home there, even after all these years, than anywhere else.

Someone commented that it was sloppily made. OK, it wasn't where it should be, it didn't have the "right actors"...but the STORY IS TRUE and the actors were so moving that I wept many times in this movie and I can't put it down in any way. Thank you for presenting it.
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ltcrgucwa13 April 2001
The Lost Child is based on the real life story of Yvette Melanson which is documented in her book titled "Looking For Lost Bird." This film has deep meaning, dealing realistically with a variety of life situations. Mercedes Ruehl did a superb performance as Rebecca and is exceptionally talented. Julie McIlvaine (Carolyn), Tantoo Cardinal (Aunt Mary), Jamie Sheridan (Jack), Irene Bedard (Grace) and others also contributed greatly to the quality of this film." Rebecca's resilience certainly was a major factor in her rising above the difficulties of her early life. One great quote "life is what you make it; you have to ride it and not let it not ride you."

The film dealt with an array of emotions and feelings: grief, rejection, disappointment, fear, sadness, exuberant joy, vibrance, fiesty determination and great excitement over things that an average person takes for granted. The Matthews were a very loving and caring family but the film also portrayed the family's realistic struggles and stresses in not only coping with a move to another part of the country but in adjusting to an entirely different culture as well. Yvette describes those adjustments to the Navajo lifestyle and their lives with her people in detail in her book.
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Outstanding Film
bblair20003 March 2001
Excellent film. Mercedes Ruehl gave an excellent performance as Rebecca. One of the outstanding features of this film is the demonstration that people can succeed in spite of childhood rejection. Scenery was gorgeous. I have viewed this film several times and each time I am inspired by its content, quality, and Rebecca's persistence in finding her natural family. I plan to read the book.
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An almost perfect movie about finding yourself!
keshayra7 July 2004
I sat down with a little scepticism for this movie. The description of the movie on the television guide did not sound that appealing. However, after a slow start in the first 20 or so minutes I really got into it.

The movie is about this woman who was adopted as a child, and then as a married adult with kids of her own, decides to start looking for her birth family. She finds them in a native American reservation!

As I have friends in the US who are native American and I have been told many stories about their traditions I was very impressed with how they conveyed that culture on the screen.

You may also recognise the grandmother. She was in Dr Quinn Medicine Woman as Cloud Dancing's wife.

I highly recommend this movie!
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Hallmark's "It" Movie of 2000
james_bergh6 September 2001
"The Lost Child" is the story of Rebecca, a woman who is looking for her birth family. She posts inquiries (sp) over the Internet, and finally gets a response from a Navajo woman named Grace, who turns out to be her sister.

Rebecca goes out to visit the family, and meets her father, Yazzi Monroe, as well as Grace and her other sisters, and her extended family. From there, she gets pulled into the culture. Her husband and two daughters, however, are not fond of rez life, but they go anyway.

I videotaped this movie the night it aired on television, and watched it several times. Keep your eyes open for the beautiful Irene Bedard ("Smoke Signals") as Grace, and Mercedes Ruehl ("Frasier") as Rebecca. The scenery is beautiful, as well.

But, one thing is the problem, and that is on this message board. I don't know what all the fuss is about this being unrealistic?

I can understand the question of why Rebecca doesn't continue to search for her long-lost twin, but you have to understand that she was excited about meeting her birth father, and birth sisters. For what we know, she may have looked into the matter afterwards.

And as for no one wanting to move to the reservation, I can say that I would in a second. Whenever I go to the rez to visit family, I get a strange, yet good, feeling, something I would never feel in my native Pennsylvania. Heck, in a years time, I'll be living the good life on the rez, without any regrets.
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Good film with some production problems
hlp187810 August 2006
I enjoyed this film overall the story appealed to me personally since I'm adopted out as well but I had a lot of problems with the production and casting. Mercedes Ruehl is a fine actress but no way does she look Navaho. All the Navaho's I know are big round people at best Mercedes could past as some northern tribe Sioux or Chickasaw but never Navaho and certainly not from full-bloods, (is there not enough native actresses out there for this role) I thought the actress who played her eldest daughter was very good. She definitely had one of the funnies lines of the movie something like 'yes but the white half has to get more sleep' sorry you have to see it to understand, I though she acted very well and delivered the line well too but again she was about as much skin (meaning native) as she was black. So the movie suffered for me because I couldn't believe that they were any part Dine'.
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Great Acting, Bad Casting
silverbullets9 March 2008
Such conflict within my soul! Oh the torment! On one hand, the acting in this TV movie is just excellent. Mercedes Ruehl, the lead, is wonderful as Rebecca, as is her husband (Jamey Sheridan), the ever good-lookin Ned Romero as her dad, and Julia McIlvaine as her eldest daughter. So that makes it hard for me to say that the casting ruined the movie.

I simply could *not* get past the fact that Ruehl is supposed to be a full-blood Dine. I was so confused when I realized that neither her mom nor dad was supposed to be white--I assumed the character was half-white. Maybe possibly sorta kinda (given the unpredictability of genetics) Ruehl could pass as half-Dine, but even that's pushing it. She isn't Native at all, although she could certainly 'pass' as a quarter. But not Navajo! (For that matter, a bunch of the Indian actors don't look Navajo at all, but I can get past that because it's so normal (Irene Bedard has played a Navajo role a zillion times, but even she and the other sisters, including the awesome Tamara Podemski, look nothing alike). Even worse, the girl who plays the young Rebecca looks so white that it's jarring to see her in a shot with her birth mother, all while knowing that her dad is supposed to be Ned Romero (who does look Navajo in his old age). I would also complain about casting Julia McIlvaine as her elder daughter, who clearly isn't half Dine but rather could've stepped right off the Nina, the Pinta, or the Santa Maria (the younger daughter could presumably have just gotten 80% recessive genes, but she wasn't very convincing either). But this is based on a true story, and indeed, I do know mixed-race families where someone impossibly comes out with blondish hair (like my cousin)...and then there are all those 1/128 blonde Cherokees, of course. But STILL! So hard to get past. And, as great as Mercedes Ruehl was, there are plenty of excellent Native actresses her age who could've been casted instead. Why not Sheila Tousey? She could have totally pulled off this character (and is light-skinned enough to be convincingly racially ambiguous in her prior life). Enough complaining, but I hate that I can't put this on my Good Indian Movies list (see my Listmania) because of this glaring problem. Tragic! Indeed!

On the other hand, because this is based on a true story, there's a great deal of non-Hollywood realism here that I really appreciated. Aside from the totally cheesy Hallmark soundtrack and Wise Indian Elder lines they made Tantoo Cardinal say, the relationships and family dynamics played out with such genuineness, and that's what really makes you care about the story. The cultural dissonance played out really effectively, too, and had enough tension to make you feel it and invest in the characters more. (Although--I felt that some of that dissonance was presented in too much of a one-sided way and could make white viewers see Navajo culture in a negative light.) I'm torn (oh woe!) on the last positive, too...I thought they presented a really broad sense of life on that particular rez from the average school to the community center, but there were also times when I also felt they were kinda making things seem more 'exotic' than they really are. I mean, where were the schoolkids listening to rap? Where was the bingo? But as a whole, I thought the story was engaging and well told. I'm interested in checking out the book now.
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Having gone through hit home.
Rwwood482 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Having been adopted,and had a daughter given up for adoption,and going through the adoption process to try an adopt,and finding my bio-sisters in 1997. The movie doesn't show the real reactions of the people around you when this happens.The reactions by those in the movie seemed "sugar coated",not every one in real life are not always that supportive as they were in the movie.The story was well written,and acted. Mercedes Reul,and Jamie Sheriden did their parts well.The better movie to see how different members of a family would react would be "Secrets & Lies". It's along the same lines,but more conflict is involved than this.I enjoyed both movies. I have a copy of this on VHS.I am going to find it on DVD.I give this a 10.
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A sweet story, if a trifle boring, and a great lesson in the Navajo traditions
inkblot1128 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Rebecca (Mercedes Ruehl) had a horrendous childhood. She was passed around by a bevy of people, until being adopted at the age of seven. For a few years, she was very happy, for her new mother loved her dearly. But, alas, her mother died and her father's new wife did not want her around. What followed was boarding school, a hitch in the Navy, and scarce visits with her adopted father. Also bothering her greatly is the news her father blurted out long ago: that she has a twin brother. Happily, Rebecca meets the love of her life, settles down and has two beautiful daughters. When her adopted father dies, however, Rebecca vows to find her brother. After making connections on the Internet, Rebecca is stunned to find out the truth about her real family. Will her long lost family embrace her? This is a sweet story, if a bit boring at times. Ruehl is very good as the woman who learns that she has Native American blood. The other cast members are also quite fine. Perhaps, it is the script. There is not a a lot of action. However, if you ever wanted to find out about the Navajo Indians, here is your chance. This movie has a great deal of information to give about the tribe and its traditions and, of course, it is fascinating to the novice. All in all, if you want to watch a sweet movie, learn about Native Americans and view nothing objectionable, this Hallmark movie has its charms. Just be prepared to be patient, for the story quietly tells its tale without any pizazz to it.
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Good story with some flaws
robertmurray-706374 January 2020
At the end of the film there is a statement that it is based on true story, but some things were changed. I have read all the other comments here and I can agree with much of the criticism. The lead actress does not look like a Navajo. Why could they not cast a Native American woman for this part? There are other women in the cast who are Native American and they were all good actresses. I suspect it was typical Hollywood crap ... "no one will want to see it unless it has a lead actress who is already known." The men who control the money always want to make changes. Film making is a business, after all. Artistic integrity and factual honesty are usually sacrificed.

That being said, this is still a good story about an (illegally) adopted child seeking her birth parents. Since it is based on a true story (see one of the other comments for the name of the book) I suggest that anyone who wants a better and more honest version of the story should read the book. That's what I am going to do.
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Very moving ,,and a test of love and patience
cleymax17 March 2018
The beginning moved along slowly, until as the revelations unfolded, her world switched over to another culture almost entirely
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morrisb7057 December 2000
The Hallmark Hall of Fame movie about the Navajo Girl brought up Jewish could have been made better.

First of all the uniform of the sister who is supposed to be Navajo Police officer was wearing a security guard uniform. The Navajo Nation Police uniform is Beige/khaki.

The Cacti is not indigenous to the Navajo Natoin... Does not grow more than 20 miles north of PHX.

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Good story terrible acting by lead actress
bgifriends26 January 2018
I wanted to like this film yet the acting by Mercedes is so poor I can't get into the film. An actor or actress really defines the story and with Mercedes it's just not real enough.. Id like to see another version with a different lead and I'm sure I'll have a better rating.
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Totally unrealistic!
dnwalker5 January 2001
The movie was very interesting for the first half hour or so. I really thought it was going to be good. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, becoming totally unrealistic.

This woman wanted to find her twin brother. Anyone who knows anything about twins knows that there is a bond there that goes beyond normal sibling ties. Yet, when she finds her Navajo family, she suddenly loses all interest in finding her twin.

Even more unreal was the notion that these people who had grown up in a civilized world would give up everything to move onto a reservation. I cannot imagine anyone doing that in real life. Visit the family there, yes, but not move there, and certainly not condemn their children to grow up in an atmosphere of poverty and food stamps.

I gave it a four.
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