Watch The Elizabeth Smart Story
- 1 hr 29 min
The Elizabeth Smart Story is a gripping and emotional film based on the true story of Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City in 2002. The movie follows Elizabeth's harrowing nine-month ordeal at the hands of her abductors and the tireless efforts of her family to bring her home. The film begins with a happy and loving family scene, as Elizabeth (played by Amber Marshall) giggles with her siblings and parents before heading off to bed. In the middle of the night, her life changes forever as a strange man enters her room and takes her away at knifepoint. The man is Brian David Mitchell (played by Dylan Baker), a self-proclaimed prophet who believes he has been called on by God to take Elizabeth as his wife.
What follows is a journey of terror and trauma as Elizabeth is repeatedly raped, starved, and threatened by Mitchell and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee (played by Lindsay Frost). The film does not shy away from the brutality of Elizabeth's experience, but it does not exploit it either. The violence is shown in a way that is both honest and tasteful, never gratuitous or sensationalist.
As Elizabeth struggles to survive, her family launches a widespread search effort with the help of the police and the FBI. The film intersperses scenes of Elizabeth's captivity with those of her family's desperate attempts to find her, including emotional interrogations with suspects and public appeals for information. The most heartbreaking scenes are those of Elizabeth's parents, Ed and Lois Smart, as they grapple with their own grief and guilt and try to remain hopeful for the sake of their daughter.
Though the film's focus is on Elizabeth and her family, it also delves into the psychology of Mitchell and Barzee. We see how they justify their heinous acts through their twisted religious beliefs and how they manipulate Elizabeth into believing she has no hope of escape. Baker and Frost give chilling performances as the two kidnappers, bringing depth and complexity to characters who could easily have been portrayed as one-dimensional monsters.
One of the film's most powerful themes is the resilience of the human spirit. Elizabeth's unwavering strength and determination to survive, despite the unimaginable horrors she endures, is awe-inspiring. Marshall gives a nuanced and empathetic portrayal of Elizabeth, capturing both her terror and her courage. The film is a testament to the strength of the human will and the power of love and family to overcome even the darkest of situations.
Overall, The Elizabeth Smart Story is a well-crafted and emotional retelling of a tragic true story. It's a difficult film to watch at times, but ultimately it's a story of hope and survival. It's a reminder that even in the face of unspeakable evil, there is still light to be found in the world.
The Elizabeth Smart Story is a 2003 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.