Christ Almighty, They finally put some movies made by Lifetime on Netflix and Lifetime has finally done it! Lifetime has finally made the film of their lifetime!!! Abducted: The Carlina White Story is so good, you’ll think it’s a legitimate movie with self-respect and everything!
In the summer of 1987, Harlem Hospital was home to a demented monster of a woman by the name of Ann Pettway (Aunjuane Ellis). There she endured the miscarriage that broke the manic-depressive camel’s back. Devastated and unhinged, Ann decided the after repetitive miscarriages, the only surefire way to make her dream of motherhood come true was to kidnap a baby. And where better to steal a brand spankin’ new baby than a hospital, amirite ladies?! She paraded around the hospital for 3 weeks as an impostor nurse, - Seriously, how much work do we pile on our nursing staff that they’re too distracted to notice a fellow ‘nurse’ is suspect?!? - ultimately finding her victim in 19-day old Carlina White (Keke Palmer), daughter of Joy White (Sherri Shepherd) and Carl Tyson (Roger R. Cross). On August 4th of 1987, Ann Pettway walked out of Harlem Hospital with Carlina and never looked back. Finders Keepers, betch.
At long last, crazy Ann was a mother. She changed Carlina’s name to Nejdra “Netty” Nance and raised her as her own for 23 years a mere 45 minutes from where Joy and Carl lived. Joy and Carl spent years searching for Carlina. Their hope was so strong they even opened a trust fund for her should she ever come back. Eventually, she did. Carlina’s suspicions of Ann were triggered when Ann provided her with a falsified birth certificate. At age 23, Carlina contacted The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and was reunited with her parents in January of 2011.
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Now, what I’m about to say might shock you to the core: Lifetime stayed true to most of the real life facts. I, too, was in disbelief. I searched high and low to find discrepancies, but I only found three. Firstly, Abducted conveniently leaves out that Ann actually did birth a young son years after kidnapping Carlina. Secondly, it paints a more favorable picture of Carlina, choosing to only touch on the rocky relationship between her and her birth parents rather than admitting Carlina lost contact with them entirely. In reality, Carlina and her biological parents had contradicting opinions about how Ann should be handled, and Carlina was none too pleased to find out her trust fund was no longer in existence. Lastly, Ann’s drug problem and that of her lovers’ were not presented. But, that’s it! The rest is true!
Better still, the film is well done. Listen, Lifetime doesn’t make it rain on production and I am convinced they hire 1st year film students as writers, but they stepped their game up for this flick. Respectable work by all actors involved catapulted this film’s quality from corny tv movie to Direct-to-dvd potential. There is a scene between Aunjuane Ellis and Sherri Shepherd that is so devastating and heartfelt, it knocks you into a momentary depression and leaves you unsure of which mother to root for. Proud of you, Lifetime. Proud of you.