The Delimar Dilemma
When it comes to true story TV movies about children which go missing or are abducted I often have a problem because they end up too personal, seemingly made for those with a connection to the story rather than for those who have never heard of the true story. It is what I thought I was going to get when I sat down to watch "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" because whilst I had not heard of the true story on which it is based I knew it was about a mother's belief that her child is alive despite being told she is dead. What I got was something more than I expected because this story has been turned into a drama which draws you into what is happening rather than just watching someone else's trauma. "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" may not be the most subtle of dramas, you can spot certain things well ahead of their arrival but with a good performance from Judy Reyes it draws in, even those like me who have no connection to that true story.
A few weeks after the birth of their daughter Delimar, Luz (Judy Reyes - Our House) and Pedro (Hector Luis Bustamante) are holding a Christmas party in their home when a fire breaks out and in the midst of the panic their baby daughter dies in the blaze. But Luz believes otherwise, she believes someone stole her baby and her belief that Delimar is still alive becomes too much for Pedro who is struggling to move on. As the years pass Luz never gives up despite trying to get a grip for the sake of her sons but an encounter with a woman and child at a party reignites that belief that her Delimar was stolen and she is still alive.
So as I've already mentioned I know nothing of the true story on which "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" is based and so have no idea how close to the truth it is or whether there has been poetic licence used to turn it into a movie. But I will say it is one of the better movies based on the true story of a missing child because it plays out like a drama rather than a personal recollection of events. It allows the audience who don't know the true story to watch and get involved as the drama unfolds especially on the night of the party as the fire breaks out. You can sense something is coming and when it does what happens isn't much of a surprise because there are less than subtle clues when we see Luz close the window and put on a heater in her babies room but it makes us feel part of what is happening rather than just an observer.
What follows on from the night of the party as Luz finds herself the only one in her family who believes Delimar has been stolen gets us just as much involved. Not being disrespectful to the true story what follows as things become too much for Pedro as he is unable to move on is almost a cliche but at the same time the way this happens with Pedro pushed to the limits is dramatic and you can feel the stress. And that is the key to "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" because whilst it is less than subtle, and if you can't work things out before they happen you are lucky, the fact it plays out as a drama really draws you in, delivering passion and atmosphere as we watch Luz refuse to accept that her daughter died in the fire.
The big reason why "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" ends up drawing you in is because of Judy Reyes as Luz who is quite frankly brilliant. The range of emotion which Reyes delivers makes the character so real, you can feel how tired she is as she finds herself the only one who believes her daughter is still alive, you can feel the hurt when Pedro says the fire was her fault and you can also feel both the pain and joy as the story unfolds. Reyes is not the only good performance and Hector Luis Bustamante as Pedro also delivers the difficult emotion of his character but Reyes is the one we follow and get drawn to.
What this all boils down to is that "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story" ended up better than I expected because it takes the true story and turns it into a drama which draws in the audience. It's not the most subtle of dramas, far too much is signposted but thanks to a good performance from Judy Reyes the obviousness is not a big problem.