The emotional true story of one woman’s journey to solve a kidnapping, her own.
ABDUCTED: THE CARLINA WHITE STORY (2012) is based on the true story of, Carlina White, who was only 19-days old when she was kidnapped from the hospital. She was raised by a woman who was not her mother and under another identity. The woman who took her, Ann Pettway, raised little Carlina as Nejdra Nance, and as her child in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The story screamed to be made into a movie, and it has. Unfortunately, Abducted mostly rears itself as a circumventing and near emotionless wreck of a tale that does not do the origin story justice.
In the film, we meet teenage parents Joy White and Carl Tyson as they celebrate the birth of their daughter, Carlina. In another scene, we watch as Ann Pettway (Aunjanue Ellis), a drug user, suffer yet another tragic miscarriage. Baby Carlina was abducted when her parents brought her from a Harlem hospital for a fever–Pettway, desperate for a child of her own, was there to steal her away. Joy and Carl desperately searched for their missing daughter over the years–23 long years–until Carlina (Keke Palmer) found them. Carlina was preparing, herself, to be a young mother on her own when she tried to apply for assistance with prenatal care. It was then that she found out that her birth certificate was a forgery and launched her investigation.
Once Pettway, brilliantly acted by Ellis, steals the baby the story loses its intrigue. There just isn’t enough content there to fill in for the 23-years Carlina was missing. The story mostly focused on the mothers and briefly was able to depict one mother (The View‘s Sherri Shepherd) as a concerning and strong mother who desperately wants her daughter back, and portrayed Pettway as an erratic caregiver who tried to keep her crime hidden. Sadly, the other acting performances were one-dimensional, and the film truly did not allow for varying perceptions.
Overall, the movie does not offer viewers enough of a compelling story.