A standalone sequel to the 2018 thriller film “Searching,” Nicolas D. Johnson and Will Merrick’s 2023 film, “Missing,” follows a similar structure and execution as to its predecessor. However, the makers have incorporated a few subtle changes to the script so that the films don’t look identical. The film, apart from its interesting execution, makes sure that it brings certain important issues, like domestic abuse, to light and conveys to the people how our legal system isn’t able to account for the safety of the victims of domestic abuse and is unable to give them a permanent and proper remedy. So, let’s find out what the film “Missing” is all about and understand how helpless and abandoned a woman feels when she realizes that there is no proper solution to her problem.
‘Missing’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
June missed her father each and every day and she just thought about how different her life would have been if he would have been there. She had very few memories of him, but she treasured those fragmented pieces more than anything in the world. She had started feeling distant from her mother, Grace Allen, since the time she started seeing a man named Kevin. Grace and Kevin had planned to go to Columbia, and though June didn’t have a problem with it, she wanted her mother to be with her on Father’s Day. June’s life was like any other Gen Z kid, who spent the majority of their time on the internet and did all their work while sitting in front of the computer screen. Be it running errands via the TaskRabbit application or talking to her friends throughout the day on FaceTime, it felt like these young adults lived their lives in the virtual world. The manner in which it is depicted makes you feel very claustrophobic, and for once, you want June to be out there with actual people. She hosted a party in the absence of her mother, and then too, everybody was busy uploading pictures and videos on social media platforms. In order to create memories for the future, an entire generation forgot that they had to live in the present and seize the moment.
The party got over, and June panicked because she had to go to the airport to pick up Kevin and her mother, and she was already very late. June went to the airport and saw everybody coming out, but there was no sign of her mother or Kevin. June tried calling her mother, but she couldn’t reach her. June was a very technologically savvy person, and she knew how to find her way by looking at the trails that a person left online. Be it online bookings or credit card transactions, June knew that in today’s age and time, every individual could be traced online if only one knew how to pay attention to the details. June called the hotel in which Grace and Kevin were supposed to stay in Columbia, and with great difficulty, she communicated with the receptionist as the man didn’t understand English. He told her that they had left all the suitcases in the hotel itself.
Through the online pictures of the hotel, June saw that there was a CCTV camera installed at the front gate, and she asked if he could check that and tell her if he found anything unusual. The receptionist said that he could give it to her if she came in person. He also told her that if she was planning to come, she would have to do it within 48 hours, as the footage overwrites itself and would be lost after that time period. Through her mother’s friend and legal advisor, Heather Demore, June contacted the U.S. embassy in Columbia and talked to Elijah Park, an officer who worked there. He said that he was working with the local authorities, and because they were in a foreign land, things were taking a bit more time.
June decided to take matters into her own hands and downloaded the Go Ninja app (Task Rabbit’s Colombian equivalent) and hired someone to run errands for her. She came into contact with a person named Xavier Ramos, who agreed to go to the hotel for her and ask for the footage, though it was outside his professional limits to do such a job for her. June reminded Xavier of his son, which is probably why he became sympathetic and decided to assist her. June managed to find Kevin’s Google One password and ID and logged into it. She got to know a lot of details about him that raised suspicions, but nothing was so concrete that she could come to the conclusion that he was behind her mother’s disappearance. Kevin had been texting her throughout the journey, and June even saw him propose marriage to her mother on one of the public cameras, which made everything even more convoluted. It was beyond June’s comprehension why a man who wanted to marry her mother would kidnap or hurt her. June had almost given up when she noticed something that refuted all the speculations she had had up until then.
How Did James And Kevin Kidnap Grace? Is Kevin Dead Or Alive?
June had talked to a guy named Jimmy, whose number she had gotten through Kevin’s data. She got to know that he had met Kevin in a re-entry program for ex-offenders, where he was his counselor. It was a cold lead, and June forgot about it, as it didn’t seem like something of significance to her investigation. Kevin was missing for a very long time and the police felt that he was the key to solving the mystery behind Grace’s disappearance. Kevin was found and he was killed by the police officers and post that incident June lost hope that she could ever find her mother. But surprisingly, something unexpected happened and the church guy, Jimmy, called her once again towards the end of the film, “Missing,” and told her that she was in danger and that there was a lot to explain, which he could only do in person. June had never met this guy in her life, and she didn’t know why he was in such a panic or what it was that he knew about her mother. He came to her door and what June saw gave her the shock of her life. For a second, she couldn’t believe that it was her father who was standing at her door and, contrary to what she had believed her entire life, he was not dead. June opened the door, and that’s when she found out what had happened to her mother.
James’s narrative was obviously in stark contrast to what had actually happened because he wanted to portray that he had been victimized by June’s mother. James told June that Grace’s real name was Sarah, and she had given a false testimony in front of the judge 12 years ago, because of which he had to go to prison. He told her that Sarah wouldn’t let him meet June and tarnished his image in society so that she could get sympathy from others. James believed he could fool his own daughter and make her believe what he said, but June was not easily fooled. James told her that he went to Eastham prison in Texas, and she realized that he might have met Kevin there itself, as the latter was also serving his sentence there.
James had conspired with Kevin to kidnap Grace, a.k.a. Sarah, as he wanted to teach his wife a lesson. James had asked Kevin to get close to his wife and become an integral part of her life. On the day Kevin and Grace had to leave for Columbia, James had arranged for a woman named Rachel Page, who looked exactly like Grace. James was driving the Uber that came to pick them up that day, and on the way to the airport, he confined Grace at his old house and let Rachel impersonate her and take her position in the cab. June had found out about it earlier as she had realized that the woman with Kevin in the pictures that he was sending, was not her mother. She thought that both Rachel and Kevin were co-conspirators, though in reality Rachel had no clue that something of that sort had happened. James took June to his house, where he had kept Grace, and it felt like the authorities wouldn’t be able to save the mother-daughter duo from the wrath of a maniac unworthy of being called a father or a husband.
‘Missing’ Ending Explained: Is James Dead Or Alive? What Happened To Grace And June?
Grace was a victim of domestic violence, but she was unable to find a way to get rid of James. She desperately wanted to save herself and her daughter from the wrath of a madman. She had done her research on the subject matter and learned that the law was very lenient when it came to matters of domestic abuse, and she knew that even if James got convicted, he wouldn’t spend more than a year in prison. She knew that getting him convicted for domestic violence would make matters worse for her, as he would come out in a year’s time and make her life a living hell. So, she planned on getting him convicted of assault and possession of drugs, which kept him behind bars for a decade. After he came out, he hatched a plan and got to know where Grace was staying. James had also killed Heather Damore, who had helped Grace safeguard her identity, and now Grace and June didn’t know what else he had on his mind. Grace managed to attack him and escape from the outhouse where he had kept her.
Until this point in the film “Missing,” Grace didn’t know that he had brought June to the house. Grace and June were reunited, but before they could think of any solutions, James broke open the lock of the outhouse and came to get them. James was able to keep a track of June’s movements up until then because he had access to her electronic devices. He entered the room and asked June to come with him. Grace begged him to leave June out of it, but James had no intention of doing that. He shot Grace and tried to drag June along with him. Grace was gravely injured and was bleeding profusely, but she mustered all the strength she had in her body and stabbed James with a broken piece of glass. James once again locked them and went to the other room where his laptop was kept, to call for medical help, but before he could do that, he fell unconscious on the table and probably died due to excessive blood loss.
June always mocked her mother for relying on Siri for everything she did, and on that fateful day, that joke helped their cause. Because James was keeping track of her through her laptop, she knew that she could give a command to Siri, that was kept in her room and make a call to the police authorities and inform them of their position. The police arrived just in time and saved Grace’s life. June’s life went back to normal, though the incident had changed her as a person. She respected her mother for who she was, and she acknowledged the kind of pain she had taken on to make sure that the shadow of an abuser didn’t fall on her innocent daughter. The film “Missing” ends on a positive note, where we see Grace getting her freedom from an abuser and June refraining from taking things for granted and appreciating the life and the people she was blessed with.