I have decided of late that this is my new favorite movie. I'm going to list the reasons here but let me preface that this will contain spoilers about the movie. SO, if you haven't seen it.....go see it now. It is phenomenal.
My previous favorite movies have included Independence Day, Armageddon, Finding Neverland, Big Fish, The Dark Knight, Men of Honor, Gladiator, etc. The list could go on. While all is amazing in its own right, each of them lack a single factor. That is the connection to today. The first few all deal with fictional characters in fictional places. Men of Honor and Gladiator have no real relevance to what is going on in the world today. While we still face the lasting effects of racism in the US, it is no where near the point it was at 40 years ago when the movie took place. Obviously Gladiator takes place back in the time of Caeser and really no relation to today.
Gone Baby Gone has the same great acting, story, and plot twists as the afore mentioned movies and deals with something poignent to today. The idea of having a child stolen from you is beyond imagination. For most of us who do not have a child of our own, we pass the notion off as something that others have to deal with that is really sad. We feel bad for them and try our best to be sympathetic. What, now, if the child was stolen from a crack laden mother, who's focus in life is not the well being of her child, but money, greed, and drugs? Do we deal with that situation any differently? This movie deals with that very point. Casey Affleck plays a private investigator who is faced with that very question.
As the movie plays out, he learns more and more about the family of the child and even the people involved with the case. Ed Harris plays a member of a special forces group that deals with drug runners and others. Morgan Freeman plays the head of a special group that deals directly with child abductions, being the father of an abducted and murdered child himself. Michelle Monaghan plays the wife of Casey Affleck. Each has their role to play in this honestly conveluted film.
We first learn about the family of the child. Mother is a drug addict, doesn't really care about anything else. Uncle and Aunt both are the real care providers for the daughter. Then they introduce Morgan Freeman, who lost his child to kidnapping and murder. Ed Harris is introduced as the guy who will do anything for a child. Scene is set.
Without getting into all the details, assuming that you have seen this movie, the film plays out and we learn that the Uncle and Ed Harris kidnapped the child to gain some money but when the who idea gets too far out of hand, they turn to Morgan Freeman, the childless father. He agrees to take the child in and play out as though the child were dead. Mother moves on, sad, but moves on. Ed Harris dies, revealing the plan. And Casey is left with the quest of dealing with the ultimate question on the table. What do you do? Do you return the child to the mother that seems to have no real interest in being a mother? Or do you leave the child with the father of a slain child, who has the world to offer?
I have seen this movie several times now and can honestly say that I cannot decide which side I agree with more. Both have their arguments and both sides argue them well. While the child may go home to squaller with her mother, ITS HER MOTHER! Plain and simple, the connection with a childs mother, however strained is something that is stronger than anyone can sever. There is also the notion of law. Morgan Freeman (et al) are breaking the law. No matter which way you spin it, there is no way around that fact. However, the opportunities offered by Morgan Freemans character far surpass anything the mother could offer in a lifetime of effort. And in that the opportunity to have a normal life. Here inlies the question again. What do you do?
So.....What do you do? I'd love feed back on this one. What would you do if faced with the question? Do you turn in Morgan Freeman? Or do you let things slide, move on to the next case?