Whatever Happened to Little Janie
Janie Jessmon (Kellie Martin - If Someone Had Known) is a happy teenager who loves her parents, Frank (Edward Herrmann - Richie Rich) and Miranda (Jill Clayburgh - Firestorm: 72 Hours in Oakland), but when she sees a photo of a missing child on a milk carton it causes her unrest. The photo brings back memories and makes Janie start to question whether her parents had in fact kidnapped her as a young child especially as they have no pictures of her when she was a baby. With the support of her boyfriend Janie attempts to learn what really happened to her as a little child but is not prepared for what it will mean if she really is the face on the milk carton with a completely different set of parents in another state.
As with many a made for TV movie "Stolen Identity", which is also known as "The Face on the Milk Carton", has a level of familiarity about it as we have a storyline built around a missing child who might have been kidnapped. But what is nice about "Stolen Identity" is that it has two clear, well worked sides to the story which come from the fact that it is in fact based on a combination of two novels. Now before you go on I will say spoiler alert as I am going to reveal plot elements in this review.
So in the first half of "Stolen Identity" we get Janie beginning to question whether she is the face on the milk carton and as such there is growing tension between her and her parents as she doesn't come straight out with what is bugging her. When she finally confronts them, having feared they may have kidnapped her, they tell her what happened. And what happened is certainly creative as they say that they are in fact her grandparents and their daughter showed up at the door with her when she was just 3 having become involved in a cult. They even wonder whether their daughter had kidnapped her but set about bringing Janie up as their own after their daughter left her with them.
But then you get the second half of the movie with Janie having to meet her real parents, discovering she has a brother and sister at the same time. What we get in this side is the emotional side as Janie finds herself conflicted over being with her biological family of Frank and Miranda who have been her parents as long as she can remember. It is well worked with all the characters involved having to deal with a complex situation as there are feelings of loss and not belonging to contend with. As such all those involved in "Stolen Identity" give good performances although once again it is a young Kellie Martin who really shines as she brings out Janie's conflict and fears.
What this all boils down to is that "Stolen Identity" is a very good made for TV movie which manages to deliver a mystery storyline when it comes to a missing child but then the emotional side of losing a child you have raised and a daughter struggling with whether she belongs with their real parents or those who raised her.