Review: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
Of course this ended up on Lifetime.
Leanne (Saoirse Ronan) was kidnapped from a park when she was four years old. Ben (Jason Isaacs) told her the world had ended and kept her in his basement for 17 years. He renamed her Leia, gave her a different birthday, and teaches her different things. After she's freed (but don't expect an explanation because why the fuck would we want to know that?) she goes back to live with her parents (Cynthia Nixon and David Warshofsky) but has issues adjusting.
If you noticed my sidebar, this is a movie I was really looking forward to this year. It premiered at Sundance, but got lukewarm reviews. I ignored this, because I love Saoirse Ronan and this plot is very interesting. An intense study on Stockholm Syndrome and coming back from that? Count me in. Unfortunately that's not what this film was about.
I tried to look at this objectively. Is the fact that it premiered on the Lifetime Network clouding my judgement on the film? This is a network that loves movies that show women objectified and empowered at the end of it. This has been the rapey, kidnappy, look at all the bad shit men do to women network for years. They even aired several other kidnapped theme previews during the commercials. One of them for Hannah Anderson, a girl that many think was actually an accomplice over a victim. Did this give me a negative cloud going in?
It didn't need to. The moment Cynthia Nixon came on screen, I can see why Lifetime probably creamed their jeans and threw money at this kidnapping film. She was terrible. Ronan was not, and she tried her hardest to carry this film, but Nixon was over the top and eventually overshadowed everything else. I wanted to learn about Leia, about how she handles life now. About what happened to her while she was gone, the film doesn't answer any of those questions. I tried to justify it to myself. When we read about kids like Shawn Hornbeck or Elizabeth Smart. People wonder what happened to them, but we never know the whole story. It's not our business, but this film didn't share those things because it was private. It's because they didn't think it through. Perhaps it can be forgiven for a first time writer/director. Instead of giving us details she went for a ludicrous twist and shock value ending that was worthy of the Lifetime network, but not of the cinema. It's disappointing. Saorise Ronan and Jason Isaacs deserve better than this.
Grade: D (Seriously, I'd give it an F if it weren't for Ronan)
Memorable Quote: "What the fuck is this?" - Me.