Winkler Seeks Happier Days

Keegan MacIntosh and Henry Winkler in A Child Is Missing (1995)

Steven Moore (Henry Winkler) is a man who following a tragedy has kept himself to himself, living up in the woods on the outskirts of town and rarely seen during the day. But Steven finds his reclusive life destroyed when he comes across a young boy who has been kidnapped and hidden in some tubes buried beneath the snowy woodland floor and whilst he tries to help he only ends up becoming a suspect. When the child's mother, Samantha (Roma Downey), receives a ransom note she is forced to meet up with her estranged father, a wealthy man, to get the ransom money. But after handing over one lot of money another ransom note arrives and soon Samantha and Steven are working together to try and find her son.

I'm not sure if "A Child Is Missing" is based on a true story of a child's abduction or not but I can say that it is a by the book TV movie with every single element of it feeling like it has come out of some sort of TV movie playbook. Take the characters; we have Steven who has become a recluse since tragedy struck, no surprise that the tragedy surrounds his family. We have to have a single mum who despite having a son who disobeys her when he eats a chocolate cake he was told not to doesn't get angry with him. Plus of course whilst we see a masked man in the woods we have other characters such as a cop boyfriend and the estranged wealthy father who are there to make you wonder if they are behind the abduction.

And that in truth is where the movie's strength lies, in trying to work out who is behind it all. The trouble is that there is so much usual stuff going on that it often struggles to be compelling or surprising. As such whilst it would be fair to say that just by being in the movie Henry Winkler is a draw and he puts in a decent performance his character like them all is not the most compelling. And that is partly down to the writing in the movie being so typical from start to finish.

What this all boils down to is that "A Child is Missing" is certainly an entertaining movie, even now some 20 years after it was made. But it is a movie which right from the word go is predictable due to it using such a familiar theme.

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