- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 18, 2000

In the tradition of its predecessors, the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "The Lost Child" brings a tear to the eye.

The movie depicts an adopted girl, Rebecca, searching for answers in her life. Although Rebecca was raised by a loving Jewish couple, she becomes riddled with questions when her adoptive father mentions she had a twin brother.

As the story unfolds — it's based on "Looking for Lost Bird," the autobiography of Yvette Melanson — Rebecca's mother dies and her father is forced by his new wife to send Rebecca off to school. Rebecca never sees him again and resigns herself to a life of ambiguity. She figures she never will know her true parents.

After marrying and having two children of her own, Rebecca feels she must find the missing pieces of her past. She posts a listing on the Internet in an attempt to find her twin brother and information about her family. This listing leads to the discovery that she is a full-blooded Navajo who, along with her twin brother, was stolen from a "white man's" hospital when they were only a few days old.

Rebecca, whose Navajo name is Odette Marie, flies to Arizona with her two daughters to explore her heritage and meet her father, sisters and other family members.

Although Rebecca's birth mother is dead, Rebecca gains insight into her mother's life. With the support of her husband, Jack (played by Jamey Sheridan), Rebecca takes her family to live on the reservation until Christmas so she can learn about her history. But Jack and the couple's older daughter, Carrie (Julia McIlvaine), soon find out about prejudice on the reservation.

Situations in the movie repeatedly show an inner conflict — Rebecca's cultural divide. Mercedes Ruehl, who plays Rebecca/Odette Marie, is a convincing actress who pulls off not only the role of the searching adult, but also of the strong East Coast woman who finds herself on a reservation.

Miss Ruehl's co-star, Mr. Sheridan, effectively plays a loving husband and a minority on a reservation with grace and dignity. The Indian actors used in this picture were equally well-cast.

Filmed entirely on location in Arizona, the reservation scenes of "The Lost Child" are beautiful. Stunning sunsets and desert views make the cinematography breathtaking.

"The Lost Child" stays true to past Hallmark Classics — it's entertaining, mushy and enjoyable. Those who love to watch good, clean television should take note.

WHAT: "The Lost Child"WHERE: WUSA (Channel 9) and WJZ (Channel 13)WHEN: 9 p.m. tomorrow

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