Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story (2015 Lifetime)
Cast: Jessica Amlee, Scott Patterson, Brian McNamara
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Follows the abduction of a 16-year-old girl in California in 2013.
Hannah and her “Uncle Jim” are in the woods surrounded by the FBI. James DiMaggio waves a gun around and screams about starting a life with “his girl.” He shoots at the FBI and is taken out. Hannah comes out with her hands up and is taken to the hospital to recover. There she learns that her mother and brother were murdered when Hannah was initially kidnapped. Brett, her father, can’t change what happened; he is just glad they have each other.
Media swarm their house and shout questions. Inside the house is an eerie silence. Hannah and her friend Cassie look on social media and starts responding to over 1000 message. The depiction here is strange. Hannah is not a victim reeling from the loss of her family. She is basking in the spotlight until the messages take a dark turn and start accusing Hannah of running off with the family friend and sending him inappropriate texts and letters. Media reports the news, further damaging her public persona. She is labeled the “Lake Side Lolita.” (Which is shameful.) They even bombard her at her mother and brother’s memorial service.
Jim’s sister talks to the press and slanders Hannah on a late-night news show. Hannah wants to retaliate with a Today Show interview. Brett flys his daughter to NBC news, and she goes on live television and shares her story.
The movie flashes back to Brett, convincing Hannah’s mother to let him take her to LA. Hannah is depicted as being obsessed with celebrity culture and social media. Jim crosses a line and tells her that he has a crush on her and creeps her out. He emotionally manipulates her, and Hannah doesn’t mention it to her parents because she doesn’t want to affect his relationship with the family negatively. Jim continues to text her while she is away at Cheer Camp.
Jim picks Hannah up from Cheer Camp. He tells her that he will kill her family if she doesn’t cooperate with him. He chains her to a chair and shares his plan of starting a new life together. He promises to give her the freedom she is looking for, and when she questions him, he plays Russian roulette with a gun. Yikes. Then he drugs Hannah. While she is passed out, he kills the family dog and then Tina and Ethan Anderson. Jim sets the house on fire to cover the murders.
Police investigate Brett’s home and find photos of Hannah. They put out an amber alert for Hannah. It isn’t effective because police don’t notice Hannah crawling away from his car at a gas station. Brett talks to the press and tries to ger the word out.
Jim takes Hannah deep into the woods. (Weird detail, he makes her carry the backpacks.) Hannah goes along with his plan until they make a campsite. She pulls a gun on him while he pees on the campfire. He tells her to pull the trigger and calls her bluff, and punches her in the stomach.
The next morning, Hannah sees some people riding on horseback. Jim lies to them and raises concerns. The horseback riders return and ask even more questions. (One of them used to be sheriff of the town.) Hannah speaks up this time to deter them because she is concerned Jim will kill them.
A helicopter flies overhead, and Hannah flags them down. Jim refuses to go to Jail and commits suicide by police.
The movie ends with Hannah meeting the horseback riders on the news as a sappy song plays. I think the song plays in full as Hannah looks at posts about her on social media. Hannah, if you are reading this, you deserve better than this movie.
Read about the true story here.
If the real Hannah Anderson or her family were involved in this production, it would have been more impactful.
Hannah Anderson denounced the film as factually inaccurate:
“According to 10 News, Hannah was not too happy about those scenarios, angrily posting on her Instagram page this week that she never gave her permission for the movie and that the preview alone contained false facts and untrue events. “If anyone is gonna tell my story it should be me,” the El Capitan High School honor student wrote.”
Minority Report: Reporter, Colleen Ryan,
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🔪 (1 Knife) It wasn’t bad, but it is inexcusable not to have the surviving victims’ input.
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*Photo Credit: © 2015 Lifetime