Buying Back my Daughter (2023 Lifetime)
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Director: Troy Scott
Writer: Barbara Marshall
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
When Dana (Meagan Good) and Curtis’ (Roger Cross) 16-year-old daughter, Alicia (Faith Wright), sneaks out of the house to attend a party, a bout with teenage rebellion quickly escalates into a widespread search party spearheaded by Dana and the police. After almost a year of searching for her missing daughter, mother’s intuition leads Dana to the salacious world of online escort ads where, to her horror, she finds her Alicia listed for sale. Dana and Curtis spring into action and attempt to “buy their daughter back” in order to rescue her from the trafficker who abducted Alicia and subjected her to unspeakable harm. Ariana Madix stars as Karen, a police officer who helps investigate the case and has a personal connection to the story.
Alicia is missing. Dana and her husband Curtis report their daughter missing to a police officer who is less than concerned.
Two weeks earlier, Dana moves her family into a new town, and Licia is not happy about the move and is an upset teenager. The family hosts a BBQ, and Alicia makes some new friends. Dana is relieved. Everyone has a dance party, and this family is just really fun. (Maybe it is too much fun; the police show up and tell them that they need to shut down the party.)
Alicia has a sleepover with her new friends, and they sneak out to go tailgating. Unlike most Lifetime moves, there are actual teens. Alicia leaves the tailgating early and gets lost. A woman named Lori picks her up. Usually, Alicia doesn’t take rides, but Lori has a car seat and snacks! (Roofie snacks!) Lori Kidnaps Alicia and locks her in a basement bedroom. (It is very scary! Mostly because Faith Wright‘s superb acting)
The following day, Dana makes the girls breakfast and is surprised that his daughter isn’t with them. Dana and her daughter Katie searched the streets for Alicia.
Back at the police, we see the cop who busted the party. He tells them to give it 24 hours and is just an unhelpful jerk.
Back at the house, a man named Ron talks to Alicia and threatens to hurt her if she doesn’t do what he asks. Ron tells Alicia that if she wants to act grown up, this is her shit. The other girls who live in the house dress Alicia up and give her some crack to get her to stop crying. Then Lori posts pictures of Alicia online on a website.
Dana, Curtis, little sister Cadence, and Mamma Grace make a video for the press and hand out flyers with Alicia’s picture on it. They ask whoever took their daughter not to hurt her. A woman named Nancy responds to the flyer and tries to help, but Dana is determined to find her and drives the streets for hours on end, affecting her health.
Another girl named Destiny shows Alicia the ropes and tells her to play the game until they can find a chance to escape. Alicia is terrified, especially when Destiny tells her that Ron “disappears” girls.
When a customer gets violent with Alicia, she hits him back. Ron gives the man a refund and then beats Alicia badly, telling her it is strike one.
After a few months, Dana calls a support group and talks to them about her daughter’s disappearance. Nancy tells Dana about a website where missing girls appear on adult pages. Dana looks at the site and is disturbed. Then she finds her daughter!!!!
Curtis and Dana go to the police with the information, and the police are still hesitant to intervene. They will need more resources to break up a local sex ring. Dana and Curtis are on their own again. Weeks go by with nothing, and Dana considers BUYING BACK HER DAUGHER!
Alicia gets a chance to escape, but she can’t go because she is worried that Ron and Lori will go after her sister, Cadence. Destiny doesn’t make it far, and Ron drags back.
Cop Karen is more sympathetic because she was kidnapped as a child on her way to school and sold into sex trafficking for nine months until she was saved. The story finally gets Curtis on board. They call the website and book a home visit with “Princess” for $500.
They meet at the bus station, and Dana brings her taser and takes Lori down to get Alicia in the car and back to safety.
Normally, this is where the movie would end, but we see Alicia’s tough reclamation with the family and a life that is no longer hers. Alicia also goes through severe withdrawals and has night terrors.
Dana apologizes to her daughter for being too strict. She tells Alicia that everything will be on her time and assures her daughter that she will get the website taken down so Alicia can get back to her everyday life.
Alicia escapes from her bedroom window and meets back up with Ron. Her withdrawal is too much, and she needs pills. Dana follows her and offers Ron whatever he wants for Alicia. Ron tells Dana he isn’t keeping her against her will, and she chooses to be there. Dana bangs on the door and begs her daughter to leave, but Alicia tells her mother to go. The police raid the place later and put Alicia in a rehab facility.
Dana advocates for trafficked girls and speaks at public engagements. She works with a support group and realizes the family she once had cannot be rebuilt; she must accept her family for where they are now.
Side Note/Stray Thoughts
You can learn more about how to stop violence against women here.
Numbers of Kills: N/A
Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale)
🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 Glasses of Wine)
Should you watch it?
Pour it up! (Give it a shot)
Put a Cork in It (Skip It)
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