Review by Joseph Fayed
Hell hath no fury like a woman whose daughter went missing 20 years ago. That proverb is the most accurate description you will find of The Apology. Mothers of missing children tend to fall into familiar territory, given their motivation to quickly learn the truth of what happened to their children. This film is no exception to that.
The thriller is set during the holidays that find the mother of a missing daughter Darlene (Anna Gunn), welcoming a familiar face into her home. Jack (Linus Roache) reveals a secret he has kept hidden for years. The mother is a recovered alcoholic — apparently, she has nothing else going for her, or at least they don't bother telling us more about her — who marks the 20th year her daughter went missing by being interviewed on TV. Jack shows up unexpectedly at Darlene's home and states that without any harm, he wants to tell her what really happened to her daughter Sally.
Anna Gunn's performance as the grieving mother who is told something she always dreaded hearing is what will keep you engaged the most. She will keep you emotionally invested enough not to wonder why Lifetime didn't greenlight this script. It has some Lifetime film attributes: a white woman who is/was a functioning alcoholic, the mostly irrelevant best friend who wears worse clothes than her friend, and the man who never has his motivations about anything questioned until it's too late. With characters so hollow, you feel that the conclusion will be anything but satisfying, and this one feels rushed.
Twists and gore are two gifts you will not be receiving this holiday season from this film. The "mystery" surrounding Sally's disappearance is laid out for the viewers around the climax. As for gore, you won't be yelling "yaass queen" at Darlene during any physical confrontation she has with Jack. It is very run-of-the-mill because none of its ideas are original. Vengeance or getting justice serves as nothing more than driving you from point A to point B. When that or the only three characters your film chooses to focus on can't carry their weight, you really don't have much to say with your story.
Jaycee Lee Dugard was not kidnapped and held captive for 18 years just to be name-dropped in this below-average thriller. The Apology is not accepted, as the film is not riveting enough to show the raw emotions or mysteries surrounding a missing persons case.
The Apology is now in theaters and on VOD.