It seemed like it should have been the perfect vacation.
Savannah (Claire van der Boom), her husband Brad (Todd Lasance), and their daughter Aria (Molly Wright) travel to an island resort off the coast of Australia. It’s the resort that Savannah used to vacation at when she was a child and this is a chance for her to not only get in touch with her past but to also show her family a good time.
And, at first, everything seems perfect. The island is beautiful. The people working at the resort are friendly. There’s a nice and attractive couple staying in the cabin next door. Even more importantly, there’s Kidz Club, where Savannah and Brad can drop off Aria so that they can have some alone time. Seriously, that may be the best thing about the resort because there are just times when the adults need some time to themselves. Aria and her stuffed bunny, Mr. Pickles, are dropped off. Unfortunately, when Savannah returns to Kidz Club to pick up her daughter, Aria is nowhere to be found.
Has Aria wandered off? Has she gotten lost on the beach? Has something worse happened? Soon, everyone on the island is searching for Aria. Mr. Pickles is found but where’s Aria? When someone sends Savannah a picture of Aria looking happy and drawing, Savannah realizes that her daughter didn’t just wander off. She’s been kidnapped! Kidnapped in paradise!
For all of their trademark melodrama, the best Lifetime films deal with very real fears. Discovering that your lover is cheating on you or that your in-laws so disapproves of you that they’re willing to go to any length to either prevent or destroy your marriage, these are very real fears for a lot of people. For a parent, there’s no greater fear than losing a child and/or not knowing where your child is. I mean, I may not be a parent but I am an aunt and I once lost track of my niece at the Dallas Arboretum and it was like the most terrifying 8 hours of my life. (Actually, it was only 15 minutes but it felt like 8 hours. Not only was I scared that I’d never see my niece again but I was also terrified of what her mother would do when she found out. Fortunately, it turned out that my niece had just run ahead of me to another exhibit but still, I was on the verge of having a heart attack by the time I saw her running up to me.)
Kidnapped in Paradise captures that fear of losing a child and the feeling of powerlessness that goes along with it. From the minute that Aria disappears, Savannah is searching for her and demanding that others search for her as well. Claire van der Broom did a good job of portraying Savannah’s desperation and her anger that the resort didn’t do a better job of keeping track of her daughter. What I liked is that whenever anyone else started tries to make excuses or started to talk about their own problems, Savannah was like, “Shut up and find my daughter.”
At the same time, as bad as I felt for Savannah, I was happy that her child was kidnapped in paradise as opposed to being kidnapped on a less photogenic island. Seriously, the resort looked really nice and I totally want to stay there, despite the area’s history of abductions. I mean, once you take the whole kidnapping thing out of the equation, it really was an nice place to work on your tan and take romantic walks on the beach.
My point is that the film delivered exactly what the title promised, which is perhaps the highest praise that you can give to most films. There was a kidnapping and there was paradise. The plot held my attention while the resort held my imagination. It was a good combination.
The combination of The Wrong Real Estate Agent and Kidnapped in Paradise gets Lifetime off to a good start for 2021.