Monday, July 4, 2011

Taken From Me, The Tiffany Rubin Story

With Taken From Me, The Tiffany Rubin Story, Lifetime Television continues its high standard of releasing important made for television movies. As is the case with the recent release of Bringing Ashley Home, Taken From Me is a true story that expresses important societal issues. In this particular story, we see the struggles of a divorced mother who has her child taken from her to another country by the child’s father. While the couple was never actually married, there are custody issues, some that transcend national borders that make recovery difficult. Approximately 1,700 children are involved in international custody disputes and while one would think answers to these problems would be easy to solve, this Lifetime movie shows that for many, not only is it difficult, it is near impossible.

As is the case in many made for television movies, we shouldn’t expect cinematic release types of effects and quality. While this is a true story, Lifetime does a good job at presenting a quality cast with an emphasis on story and drama, not special effects.

Taken From Me starts off with us seeing Tiffany Rubin, played by Academy Award Nominee, Taraji, P. Henson, and her new husband playing and interacting with her child, Kobe from a previous relationship. Tiffany has moved on and has an obvious love and passion for her child, what is also obvious is her new husband also has a deep love for him. Despite concerns expressed by her mother, Belzora, played by Beverly Todd from The Bucket List, Tiffany decides to let Kobe’s father spend a week with him on a trip to Disneyland. While there are warning signs from the start, Tiffany decides to give her child’s father the benefit of the doubt. What results is him taking the child to South Korea and not returning the child. What results for Tiffany and her family is the long battle to get her son back. Despite the child’s father being in violation of United States law, South Korea doesn’t see it that way. The lack of help from the State Department has Tiffany ultimately turning to Mark Miller, the organizer of a group called The American Association for Lost Children, a real organization. Miller, played by Terry O’Quinn from Lost, provides assistance to get her son back.

Taken From Me shows the heartache and struggles that families go through when seemingly impossible situations strike. We see the struggles of not just the mother, but also Kobe’s grandmother and his mothers husband Chris. In one powerful scene we see the struggle of relationship between Chris and Tiffany as Chris has to remind her of what a real father is. He has been there for Kobe, playing catch, swinging at the playground, praying with at bed time and more. He challenges her; ‘aren’t these the ‘things that make a real father.’ While Taken From Me is drama and dialog driven, the story weaves and flows nicely while maintaining the interest of the viewer.

Taken From Me is filled with spiritual overtones. In the beginning we see the reluctance of Tiffany to accept spiritual solutions despite the strong involvement and encouragement from her mother to trust, depend on, and lean on the church. Tiffany has had bad experiences with church though; the last thing she wants is to depend on an organization which will let her down once again. To the credit of the church represented in this movie, they take Tiffany under their wings, offering help and solutions even when she refuses to accept them. That doesn’t stop the church though, while many churches would give up, this church doesn’t. They continue to pray, provide support for the grandmother, and offer love, and prayers for Tiffany. It is in fact the church that recommends the individual Mark Miller who will ultimately go out of his way to provide hope for Tiffany. As Miller and the church continue to love those unwilling to accept love, Tiffany ultimately gives in. She accepts the help of Miller and gives in to thanking the church and praying with members of the church prior to her departure for South Korea to attempt a risky and dangerous rescue of her son.

I was impressed with Lifetimes approach at showing the positive contributions of some churches. Lifetime is a network that sometimes garnishes the disdain of certain religious groups yet the presentation here was as strong a positive commentary on the church as anything I have seen in sometime, on any level, including so called ‘christian’ movies.

I liked Taken From Me, The Tiffany Rubin Story quite a bit. As is the case of many movies released by Lifetime on DVD, I wish they would add special features to their DVD’s, especially the movies that are based and inspired by true events. Essentially all you get here is the movie, nothing else, but as much as I dislike that, I like the movie enough to state it is worth owning, not just viewing. I can imagine there will be ample opportunities to watch this movie again with friends and discuss the situations in the movie. With organizations like AAFLC, Lifetime could be doing a world of good, not by just making good movies, but providing information about the organizations in the movies. I hope that Lifetime gets it; they obviously make good and valuable movies. Now as I have said before, if they can just do a little more and do good.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:

Interview with the star from Taken From Me, The Tiffany Rubin Story

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