This wonderfully disturbing and haunting movie will no doubt stay with you after the credits roll. It tells the story of a young girl and boy, abducted as 8 year olds and practically sold into prostitution. The abductors (Tom Arnold and Kevin Zegers) lure Leslie on her way to school, telling her that their puppy was lost, and one of the men, Alex then informs her that her dad called him and told him to pick her up because there was an emergency. She gets in their car, and her fate is sealed. They then tell her that her parents don’t want her anymore, and basically brainwash her. They sell her to the highest bidder (Jeremy Sisto) who takes her to get “acquainted” with a local judge. Her captors, Alex and Frank, also abduct another child, Donnie, with whom Leslie becomes best friends. They know what’s happening is wrong, and they hope to someday run away together.
Nine years later, Leslie (Gillian Jacobs) and Donnie (Evan Ross) are two street kids, homeless, living in California, scraping by on whatever they can find or earn in whatever way they can. Leslie is a prostitute, and Donnie is too, somewhat. He is desperate to leave the life that was forced onto him and return to the life he had before that day 8 years earlier. Leslie is equally troubled and depressed, having been scarred for life by the abuse and trauma she has endured. Together, they try to make the best of everyday, while struggling with their own internal and external demons. Leslie is confronted by a counselor at the youth shelter who found her missing person poster, and she realizes that Alex had lied – her parents really did love her and want her back. But she’s made a promise to Donnie that whatever they do, they’ll do it together. I’m not going to tell everything that happens, as this is one of those films you need to see for yourself – surround yourself with it and take it all in.
Gillian Jacobs is impeccable as Leslie, and really takes on the role with great force. Evan Ross, yes, Diana Ross’ son, is equally impressive as Donnie, who is constantly trying to reel Leslie back into reality. He is her rock, as she is his. This harrowing movie will no doubt break your heart, as well as scare you into realizing how sick and twisted people are out there, constantly lurking, and looking to exploit. I have often said that this is almost like a female version of Mysterious Skin. This film is moving, shocking, and extremely well made. Graphic and unforgiving in its portrayal, it will anger you, sadden you, and make you think. Which is what film is intended to do, is it not?