Gone Baby Gone

I saw this a couple weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to writing about it. I’m not going to be particular about spoilers, so I’ll put this one below the fold.

But first, the trailer.

Oh, and a mention that this is a must-see if you’re at all into Dirty Secrets.

Welcome to the rest of the article!

This movie moved me powerfully. First off, it’s a detective noir that has, at its core, a conspiracy of light. The movie (and trailer) sets you up to think that it’s about police corruption, butthe “corrupt” cops are actually breaking the law to remove neglected children from their homes and getting them into better situations. It’s an odd noir that ends up with the “dirty secret” being essentially positive.

And yet….

As Patrick (the detective) knows, despite the excellent intentions of these cops, they are still kidnapping. They kidnapped the little girl to get her away from her mother, who is a prostitute and drug abuser. And, for sure, she would be better off apart from her mother. But it’s still kidnapping.

Patrick’s girlfriend threatens him. “If you report them, I’m leaving you.” And, of course, the girl would be returned to her mother.

But he calls. Because it’s the right thing. (Right?)

And of course there’s a big teary-eyed reunion on television and the cops’ names are dragged through the mud and the girlfriend leaves Patrick.

And, in the end, Patrick goes over to the house of the little girl. The mother is getting ready to go out and party. There’s no babysitter. The mother is hoping to get one, but she’s leaving anyways. So Patrick volunteers to stay. The last shot is of Patrick and the little girl, sitting on the sofa. Because of his choice, he’s lost everything, and for what?

A rough ending. Really rough.

It’s not enough for your outcome and intent to be righteous. Your means must also be righteous.

But still….

And I thought of Katelyn.

I haven’t thought about Katelyn in a while. It’s been so long, I don’t even remember which spelling variant to use. Caitlin, maybe? Katelynn? I don’t remember.

My mother worked in a crisis pregnancy center, and sometimes her work came home to live with her. Katelyn’s mother lived with us while she was pregnant, and then we helped her get settled into her own place. I remember moving her from one second-floor apartment to another second-floor apartment during the winter. I slipped on the stairs and broke one of them.

And I remember babysitting Katelyn one day when she was very ill. She wasn’t older than a year, maybe younger, but she had a terrible fever. But her mother had an appointment or something, so I went over to care for Katelyn. A couple hours, and all I did was hold her so she could sleep. I remember feeling her skin burning against mine.

Our family put a lot of time and effort and sacrifice into Katelyn and her mommy. And then, one day, she was gone. I don’t think that my parents ever told us all the details. All I remember is Mom explaining that Katelyn’s mother had chosen to listen to different friends. And that’s it.

Katelyn is…what…sixteen, maybe seventeen now. What’s her life like? Is she getting into trouble with boys, like her mother did? Does she even remember the teenaged boy who held her when she was sick? I doubt it.

All that time and effort and sacrifice…wasted.

Or is it? I have to accept, on faith, that no good work that is done for Jesus ever goes to waste. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) So, that morning spent with Katelyn was not a waste.

Maybe it was preparing me for today, when Justice became feverish and sick. So I laid around with him all day and then, late in the afternoon, I held him while he slept. I could feel his skin burning against mine. But he’s my own, and I will love him. And, God willing, the love that Justice received today will blossom in his life into something beautiful.

Crystal and I talked for a long time after we finished the movie. In the end, we agreed on two things:

1) Our ministry to this neighborhood will break our hearts. We will reach out to people, and they will hurt us. That’s just the way it is.

2) We need to give our children the love and care that they need. We cannot heal all the hurting people, so let us begin with the people that God placed in our own household, and we will extend from there.

To quote the MPAA, there is “violence, drug content, and pervasive language” in this movie. So be warned. But it is worth the watching.


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