Girl in the Closet (2023 Lifetime)

Girl in the Closet (2023 Lifetime)

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Cast: Tami Roman, Remy Ma, Danielle LaRoach, Daijah Peters, Stevie Baggs Jr.

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Girl in the Closet” follows 10-year-old Cameron who was accidentally placed into the custody of her aunt Mia (Tami Roman, Truth Be Told, The Ms. Pat Show), a convicted murderer, after her mother Patricia (Remy Ma) suffers an aneurysm. While Mia enriches herself with benefit checks from foster care, unspeakable atrocities occur at her hands while Patricia pleads for help to find her daughter’s whereabouts for over a decade. Cameron finds herself locked in a closet and near death, with only her faith to see her through.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie begins with a girl NOT in the closet. She is attempting to escape and is literally thrown down the stairs by her captors. Cameron screams, “Please don’t make me!” as Tami (from the Real World) Roman slams the door in her face. 

Flash to a child’s birthday party in Atlanta GA. Patricia throws her daughter, Cameron, an extravagant party and becomes upset when she finds out her estranged sister Mia was invited. They had a complicated past when Mia was supposed to be Patrica’s caretaker, but the situation dissolved into manipulation and abuse. 

Cameron doesn’t understand why she can’t accept gifts from Auntie Mia; Patricia explains that some money comes from doing bad things and warns that family can hurt you. Patricia, who recently found religion, prays with her daughter before bed and tells her that whenever she sees a tree, God is with her, and she is never alone.

Patricia suffers from severe migraines and collapses the next day of a brain aneurysm. 

Mia offers to take the child while Patricia recovers in the hospital for weeks. Mia has another foster daughter she cares for, and by caring, I mean she is forced to clean the house. When she disobeys, Mia burns her on the stove coils. Patricia doesn’t know this, but in a moment of weakness, she agrees to temporarily let Mia take care of Cameron. 

Mia brings Cameron to her house and introduces her to her Uncle Chris, daughter Angela, and the “maid” Nancy. (The abused Foster Child) Cameron is scared when they tell her that her room is in the basement. They drag her down there and lock her in. Cameron screams for help and cries; Nancy explains that the basement is her new home. Two others live downstairs, Joanne and Harland. There is a curtain up, and Nancy tells Cameron not to go behind it. There is also a pot to piss in and bare mattresses on the floor. It is hell. 

Chris comes down with Kool-Aid, which is drugged to calm them down. The older captives are sold for sex work. They also collect disability checks for each captive and their children?!?!? (Nancy and Joanne are both pregnant.)

Josh Goodman and Gail are social workers that enable Mia by being overworked and negligent in their jobs. Patricia comes to them after a year in recovery and cannot get her daughter back. The social workers look into it and are horrified to learn that Mia has a criminal record for hitting a man with a hammer and locking him in the closet, where he starved to death. Josh stops by the house, and Mia talks him into coming back the next day. 

The following day, when Josh returns, he is shocked to learn that they have moved out of the house. Josh and Gail break the news to Patricia, who (rightfully) has an emotional breakdown.

Nashville, TN- Mia and her captives are settled in a new home. Cameron is now a teenager. Nancy and Joanne still have babies for Mia to sell on the black market. Times are tough for them without government checks. 

Mia meets a woman with experience as a nurse and seduces the woman into coming home with her. Diana goes into the basement, and Mia locks her in. Nancy introduces them to everyone, and Joanne is eight months pregnant. Diana is held captive for a month until Joanne goes into labor. 

Diane delivers the baby, but it is stillborn. Mia tells Jo she is a failure and buries the baby in the backyard. Diane tries to escape, but she hits her head on the stairs, and the complication from the head injury kills her. Mia blames Cameron and says the police will take her away. Mia offers to cover up the “murder.” further indebting Cameron to Mia in her mind. 

Cameron finds an envelope full of the sedative Mia, and Chris gave them. She steals it and takes out the trash. Then she sees a tree, and she cries for God to help her. Chris sees her and tells Mia that Cameron is smart. Too smart. 

Mia decides to pick up a homeless alcoholic to work for her as long as he asks no questions. He serves as a pimp and takes the girls out to meet men. Nancy’s john is a cop, and that is when she realizes she is totally helpless because he is paying for underage sex workers without even raising an eyebrow. Eventually, Nancy tells him everything. 

Joanne has a baby in the basement, it is her first one that survives, and Mia takes her from her before she can even hold the baby. Mia names the baby Mia and neglects her too. (Why she wants a baby, I have no idea! Just another person to control, I guess.) 

Angela speaks up to her mother and is sent back to Atlanta with two of Joanne’s babies. 

The cop brings Nancy home and tells Mia that she tried to escape. They beat her up with a bat and locked her in the attic naked. 

Cameron drugs the homeless man and rushes up to take care of Nancy. After a few days, Mia asks Cameron to clean Nancy up so she can get back to work, but Nancy is dead. They back up everything, leave town again and return to Atlanta. 

Cameron is locked in a closet, and Mia tells her that she did all of this for the family and to make her strong. She is locked in there with no water or food for three days. Angela wants Mia out because her landlord is too nosey. The landlord unlocks the basement and thinks he has found a dog, but it is captive children.

Police storm the property and save Cameron, who is still locked in the closet. Cameron wants to call her mom right away. Patricia arrives on the scene a hugs her daughter.

Five years later, Mia Smith applies for early parole. Cameron speaks at the hearing and calls Mia evil. It is damning testimony, and Mia is not granted early release. (Good!) 

Side Note

Tami Roman is a really good actress. She always had charisma on reality shows, but damn, she is fascinating to watch as an actress. 

This movie is INSPIRED by true events, thankfully not based on a true story.

Minority Report: The cast features mostly POC actors in all the major roles. 

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Overall rating 

Number of Kills: 

🔪🔪🔪 (3 knives)

Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale) 


Should you watch it?

Pour it up! (Give it a shot)

Put a Cork in It (Skip It)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked & @patrickmiguel

*Photo Credit: © 2023 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

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