Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos (2021 Lifetime)

Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos (2021 Lifetime)

Cast:  Warren Christie, Annabeth Gish, Kendra Westwood

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Based on a true story, Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos details the story of Jennifer Dulos (Annabeth Gish), the wealthy, Connecticut mother-of-five who mysteriously vanished on May 24, 2019.)

Thoughts

The movie begins in a wealthy gated community. A voiceover of blogger/mother of five, Jennifer Dulos (Played expertly by Annabeth Gish.) She explains that she may have it all, but she isn’t doesn’t because she is “married to him.” (Her husband, Fotis.) Jennifer goes missing, and the police look into her disappearance.  

Pre 9-11 NYC. Jennifer lives with her roommate Audrey but is leaving for Colorado. It is there where Jennifer meets him. Flotis Dulos is a handsome playboy who went to college with Jennifer. They start to date. Jennifer is a struggling writer/playwright, and Fotis encourages her to keep at it. They have a one-night stand and agree to leave it at that.

Their chance meeting quickly turns into a full-fledged relationship when Flotis pushed himself on Jennifer after she canceled a date because she is sick. He brings her a care package, including a coloring book and soup! Jennifer tells him he is too much. Little does she know. 

Wedding preparations happen quickly, and Audrey asks Jennifer if she is settling or she has considered he is just married her for the money. Jennifer’s parents also don’t approve.

After the wedding, Fotis starts his own business and runs up the family credit card traveling the world and cheating on his wife. Jennifer cancels his credit cards after stalking him on social media and realizing he is stepping out on his family and responsibilities. 

Fotis returns to the country livid and screams at his wife. Then he works out in their huge at-home gym. He tells her that he is the man that she married, and he isn’t going to change.

The years go by, and Jennifer and Fotis have more and more kids. Jennifer gets a call from the bank about a late payment on a business loan that Fotis took out. He spins it around on Jennifer and asks her when she will finish the novel she has been working on for ten years. Fotis apologizes to Jennifer while she is in the bath, and I am worried the whole time he will drown her. 

He continues his cheating ways while traveling for work and is generally the worst. He brings one of his side girls on as a “business associate” named Michelle. The timing is terrible because Jennifer’s father dies suddenly. Fotis doesn’t waste time looking into getting money from Jennifer’s mother. It causes an argument, and Jennifer confronts him about his cheating again. Fotis tells her that she won’t divorce him because “men have mistresses,” She is over 50 and won’t recover. (According to Fotis.)

Jennifer asks Fotis about shared custody of the children and wants a separation. He goes into a rage, chasing her around the house, and attempts to break down the bedroom door. Terrified, Jennifer moves in with her mother with her five children and files for divorce. Fotis calls Jennifer and threatens to kill her and kidnap his children. 

The legal system doesn’t side with Jennifer and refuses to grant her sole custody. Jennifer is forced to co-parent with a sociopath. He lives in the mansion with Michelle and breaks the terms of the agreement. Jennifer is awarded sole custody after Fotis is found to be emotionally manipulative to his children. 

Fotis disregards the restraining order and almost runs Jennifer over with his car. His rage overcomes him when Jennifer’s mother sues him for her investments back that she made in his business. It is over 2 million dollars.

The court proceedings continue, and Fotis continues to look bad in front of the judge.

Pack in the present day, Michelle goes over the timeline during the day of Jennifer’s disappearance. She accounts for most of her day for the detectives. They inform her of Jennifer’s actions until she disappeared and tells her that she is the only alibi for Fotis. 

The nanny, Stephanie, is the one who discovers that Jennifer is missing. She notices Jennifer’s car in the garage, her purse on the ground, and things are askew. Stephanie calls the doctor’s office and is surprised that Jennifer didn’t show up for her appointment. That is when she decides to call the cops. 

Fotis isn’t worried about Jennifer, demands custody of his children, and avoids the cops. Detectives eventually meet up with Fotis, who has lawyered up. He is going to need that lawyer because the detectives find blood-soaked towels in the trash. The case is changed from a missing person to a murder investigation. 

Police search the mansion, and Fotis and Michelle are kicked out for the duration of the investigation. Michelle and Fotis are arrested for tampering with evidence. (After the detective finds a verbatim written outline of the alibi scripts that Michelle and Fotis worked on.) They are released on bail, but the detectives had video footage of them throwing away evidence. 

The public thinks that Fotis is guilty and puts memorials outside of his house. He is under house arrest and loses custody of his children. Detectives have enough to charge Fotis with murder. As the evidence mounts against him, Fotis writes a suicide note and commits suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The movie concludes with Lifetime’s depiction of what is thought to have happened to Jennifer. A homicide of violence. 

Side Note

Minority Report: Detectives, cop, judge, Stephanie,

Read more about the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos here. (As of June 2021, she is still missing.)  

Connecticut State Senate passed a bill nicknamed “Jennifers’ Law,” which “expands the legal definition of domestic violence to include nonviolent coercive control, such as psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.

I feel like this movie, like most of this kind, should have waited till more is known about the case.

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Overall rating

🔪🔪🔪 (3 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required.)

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #GoneMom

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