Redheaded Janie (Kellie Martin), catching her own face in a 13-year-old photo on a milk carton, starts asking her parents questions like where’s her birth certificate, how come there aren’t any baby pictures of her around, who is “Hannah,” and what’s going on with that trunk in the attic? Her parents, Miranda and Frank (Jill Clayburgh, Edward Herrmann), explain as best they can, and they concoct a good enough story.
But her natural parents, redheaded Jonathan and Sada (Richard Masur, Sharon Lawrence), who live in a neighboring town and have a son and another daughter, want her back, and they have every right. Sada’s an emotional woman who’s waited too long, and it’s tough on her; she and Jonathan want Janie with them.
Director Waris Hussein keeps a good rein on the suds, though the sentimental aspects threaten to engulf everyone at times. A red-maned Martin, who only two weeks ago was playing an abused wife in “If Someone Had Known,” performs suitably enough as the teenager Janie. Clayburgh and Herrmann are believable. Masur’s OK, and Lawrence gives Sada an effective emotional binge.
Caroline Perreyclear, as Janie’s redheaded younger sister, does an admirable job of playing out the tough assignment. Johnny Green, playing Janie’s boyfriend , and Kristoffer Ryan Winters, as her brother, are solid.
Some nice touches: a missing letter being swept up with trash, and Reeve asking Jonathan if he can take Janie to the senior prom. Most intriguing aspect is the mysterious Hannah, whose action started the sadness. Telefilm, which has lots it wants to say, gets burdened down in dialectic. Tech credits are good.