Lifetime Movie Zoe Gone Should Have Been Subtitled ‘Ugh, Teenagers’

Lifetime movie Zoe Gone Sammi Hanratty

I had high hopes for the new Lifetime movie Zoe Gone. For one, I usually love Lifetime’s teen movies. For two, the promo for the movie included a lot of crazy yelling. And for three, my onscreen guide described it as a story about a teen mom who loses her baby when she’s too busy reading text messages. As it turns out, sometimes Lifetime’s teen movies feature really insufferable teens, the crazy yelling got exhausting really fast, and that onscreen description was completely inaccurate. It also had one of the strangest endings imaginable, so… yeah.

We open the movie with a POV shot from the perspective of a teenage girl named Jennifer (Sammi Hanratty) as she gives birth. I can’t even see her yet, and I already know I hate her. They name the baby Zoe, but even a cute trendy name can’t get Jennifer’s boyfriend Randy (Michael Grant) to stick around, no matter how many half-assed attempts Jennifer’s mom Alicia (Alexandra Holden, who seems to have gotten over that time Ross Geller broke up with her) makes to keep him there. Side note: Randy is such the perfect name for a douchey teen father, right? No offense to people named Randy. My name has become associated with a godawful Adam Sandler movie, so we’re even.

Flashforward to ten months later, as Jennifer continues to complain about how much she hates being a mom. She dropped out of high school, which is a real shame since that helpful closeup of the bumper sticker on her mom’s car informs us she was an honor student. She and her mom have arguments about everything from Randy not paying child support to Jennifer making the same mistake her mom made (what is this, Gilmore Girls?) to whose responsibility the baby should be. There’s also Jennifer’s stepdad Walter (Jeff Branson), who became my first suspect for the kidnapping that hadn’t even happened yet when he was shown drinking two beers in a mechanic’s jumpsuit, surefire signs of a TV movie bad guy.

Because this movie really wants to drive home how much Jennifer hates being a mom, she runs into her friend Amber (Samantha Boscarino) from high school and implies that she should have gotten an abortion without actually saying the word “abortion.” If she had said it, legend tells us Michelle Duggar would pop out from behind a tree and curse her with endless pregnancy. Her friend invites her to a party, and since Lifetime teens are drawn to red plastic cups like moths to a flame, Jennifer leaves Zoe in her crib and sneaks out. At the party, she runs into Randy, who’s with another girl. They have a shrill argument and then Jennifer’s friend gets up in Randy’s face and says what we’re all thinking: “Douche.”

Speaking of saying what we’re all thinking, when Jennifer gets home to find that her mom has been up all night taking care of Zoe and worrying about her, her stepdad asks point blank, “What is wrong with you?” He also calls her an “ungrateful little bitch,” which I also don’t object to. I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that the stepdad is supposed to equal the audience here.

We finally get to the park scene, where I was very disappointed to learn that there’s no texting involved in the abduction. Rather, Jennifer meets up with Randy to collect the child support check, and he surprises her with a bouquet of flowers. Unfortunately giving her those flowers involves her closing her eyes and him running off to his car to retrieve them, leaving Zoe unmonitored in her stroller. Based on the conversation these two have after that (“They’re beautiful.” “So are you.”), I wouldn’t be surprised if Zoe just threw herself from the stroller to get away from them. When Jennifer realizes her baby is nowhere in sight, she runs around screaming “ZOE!!!!” at the top of her lungs, as if she’s just going to peek her little baby head out from behind a tree like “You rang?”

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • Trevor

      I agree with you that it was stupid of Jennifer to give up Zoe for adoption after spending the entire freaking movie trying to get her back. And a lot of people on Facebook feel that way, too. And they also think that the movie was very sad and made them cry. Did you think it was sad and tear-enducing?

      • Jill O’Rourke

        I did not. Did you?

      • Trevor

        No, not really.

    • Cori

      Ugh, I hate movies on teen parenthood. The teens are usually insuferable and the movies often feel like lectures. Don’t they realize that watching decent people who had kids as teens struggle constantly and just take care of a baby normally is scary enough?

    • elle

      I guess I was the only one not really bothered by the ending… it came out of nowhere for sure, but just because she realized that she actually did care about her daughter doesn’t magically give her the tools to be able to raise her daughter. And why does nobody ever call the police? When it’s just Jennifer and Randy in the car Randy doesn’t realize the safety is on so Jennifer is in control she could have definitely dialed 911 or called the detective. We know she had her phone with her. Side note: Petals on the Wind promo made me excited and since I “like” lifetime on Facebook (don’t judge me) I know they actually did a good job on the casting for looks. The new actors legit look like they could be the old actors grown up.

    • Cbalducc

      Can you scream, sigh, and wring your hands? If so, you might have what it takes to be an actress in a Lifetime movie!

    • Jose Noriega

      I was stuck in the living room and as my mom watched the movie. This review pretty much sum up whole I feel about the movie. It’s really terrible. I found it pretty odd when they ran to the site of the dead baby and there’s a moment of relief even a change in the background music. Have they forgotten that there is a dead baby there? Also, the main girl cries 97 percent of the movie. First half, she hated being a mom.. Second half, “please bring back my baby!”.. Somehow from the first few moments of the movie.. I knew the ex-boyfriend had something to do with it.. because come on.. It’s lifetime. It’s always a male antagonist. The ending was kinda ironic.. She puts on her “concern mommy” pants and looks for the baby only to give the baby away for adaption. I guess she could go back to partying now..

    • Alexis

      eww thank you for reviewing. I support teen moms in what they choose so watching this would have just ruined my day and then I’d probably spend a couple weeks angry about the screenplay.

    • Erin

      Alicia (Alexandra Holden, who seems to have gotten over that time Ross Geller broke up with her)
      Thank you!! It was driving me nuts trying to figure out where I knew her from

      • Jill O’Rourke

        Haha, no problem.

    • dy

      Wait… there was a Lifetime movie without Judith Light or Nancy McKeon? Damn you, Obama!

    • Misty Stewart

      Actually the redhead is not a guy and is played by Andrea Bowen NOT Andrew.

      • Jill O’Rourke

        Whoops, that was a typo. I’m aware she’s not a guy.

    • laura

      is noone getting she placed her baby for adoption at the end BECAUSE she realized she loves her so much. She loved her so much she knew she deserved the best with parents who were ready to give her the life she deserves. She decided to be SELFLESS rather that her being selfish and put her needs first.

      • laura

        *her babies needs first. If she didnt care and just wanted to “get back to partying” she wouldnt have gone through what she did to get her baby back. She did what was best for her child and that is a true mother.

    • Ana

      I read the review while I was watching the movie. I decided to do it because the information about the movie on TV showed TERROR. A mistake, of course. Anyway, what a crazy movie.Teens, do not have babies. Otherwise, you’re going to abandon them and they will die or they will be kidnapped or adoption will be the best solution: this is the message of the movie. I wish the mother had realized she loved the baby and decided to take care of Zoe, but I can’t judge people who give their babies up for adoption. Maybe they really want a better future for their children.

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