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Losing Isaiah

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jessica Lange, Halle Berry, David Strathairn, Cuba Gooding Jr., Daisy Eagan
  • Directors: Stephen Gyllenhaal
  • Writers: Naomi Foner, Seth Margolis
  • Producers: Hawk Koch, Kimberly Brent, Naomi Foner, Sharon Owyang
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Paramount
  • Release Date: Sept. 9 2003
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0000A2ZNM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,899 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Losing Isaiah (View amazon detail page) ASIN: B0000A2ZNM Binding: DVD

Jessica Lange is a social worker who falls for an abandoned newborn and breaks all the rules by bringing him home. Halle Berry is the homeless druggie who dumped the baby. One of the film's best attributes is that it reveals everyone's perspective, though much of the story is told from Berry's point of view. Strung out on crack, Berry's character thinks nothing of hiding her baby in a cardboard box near a dumpster before going off for a fix. We watch Berry painfully pull herself up out of the gutter and make a life for herself. She embraces decency and sobriety and becomes the person she might have always been had her childhood been different. After Lange and her amiable spouse (David Strathairn) have formed strong family ties with this difficult child, they find themselves fighting to keep him when Berry decides she wants Isaiah back. Naomi Foner's clever script reveals a legal system that is as much a character in this painful story as the attorney (Samuel L. Jackson) who takes on the case pro bono. Though the film ultimately flounders under a hesitant ending, Lange is such a dynamo that this tragic story still comes recommended. --Rochelle O'Gorman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Seeing this movie for the second time, twice on television, the story is about a an African-American baby abandoned by his mother, Khaila Richars, who was strung out on crack, and his foster mother, Margaret Lewin, a social worker who raises him. The first three years of the boy's life, he is nurtured and cared for by the Lewin family while his mother goes through rehab and getting herself a job and a place to stay. She learns of the child she abandons and wants to claim custody of him.
I felt that Khaila needed more time be an adult rather than trying to claim her son back. For one thing, she abandoned a baby and got hooked on drugs. And another, she needs to know how to be a more responsible adult. Although she got rid of her married boyfriend and kicked her habit, she couldn't offer much for Isaiah who was already accustomed to his surroundings. The Lewins, who are white, raised Isaiah, despite the cultural differences. But they have to relate to a society that is colorblind. They just can't up and assume that everything is like a fairy tale. Margaret's husband cheated on her and she didn't even know it until he admitted it in court.
Unfortunately children like Isaiah are put away and await for families that reflect their background and oftentimes, they never get adopted fully. It's even more sad when people have children that they aren't prepared to care for. Government intervention has made it worse. It is argued by some people that they need to bring back group homes and orphanages and put more funding into them. But of course, that too was under fire.
I felt that Isaiah better off living with a family that was stable and nurturing and that Khaila needed to grow up and get herself together. Perhaps even form a certain bond with the family that took in Isaiah.
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Format: VHS Tape
12/04/03 The movie ends with one line on the screen Isaiah 11:6 "and a little child shall lead them"...Supense is there from the moment that the child's biological mother*(played by actress Halle Berry*)) puts him in a cardboard box behind the "beastly room she has herself & he living in"; to him being rescued from the inside of a Muncipal Trash Truck " in the nick of time;to the ER representing itself as the life saving force of hospitals once more, in rescusitating him; with a woman* (of another race and her family adopting him)played by actress Jessica Lange*) saving him from an early life of "foster homes" ,his biological mother raising from her demons,pits and dens of self destruction",the courts ruling in favor of the biological mother (so he can be raised in the culture which is the reality that he must be groomed to realize)to an ending of the adoptee's mother and the biological mother going beyond "self" to be a team in helping him reach the age of reason and beyond as a sensible human.
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Format: DVD
For those of you that think Halle is just a pretty face...hopefully her Oscar winning performance in "Monster's Ball" showed you that she wasn't...but if you still have doubts this is a movie you should see. Halle is well deserving of an Oscar in this film as well, she plays a crack addicted homeless woman who loses it all and dumps her baby in the trash just so she can get a hit...when she comes out of her drug stooper she then realizes her mistake, but it's too late. The baby was adopted by a white family and she believes her baby to have died. The movie takes off from there, the white family raises and cares for the child. After Halle's character struggles but reforms herself she finds out that the child is still alive. Then the battle for who is rightfully the parent of the child begins. Some of the highlights here...Samuel L. Jackson's role as Halle's Lawyer and the scene in which the 2 "mothers" meet in the bathroom for the first time...that is a very powerful scene. The movie is a very powerful and moving piece of cinema. Excellent film.
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Format: VHS Tape
Give director Stephen Gyllenhaal a lesser actress like Barbara Hershey, or Halle Berry in his this film, and you'll get a fine performance. Give him a great actress like Debra Winger in A Dangerous Woman, or Jessica Lange here, and he'll stiff 'em. In spite of looking dowdy next to the beautiful in an underwritten role, and being shunted to the side for a major part of the narrative, Lange still triumphs. The role offers her as little opportunity as her (unduly) celebrated one in Blue Sky, but she has her marvellous physicality and commanding presence. In one scene, laying on a bed, she is a suburban Blanche DuBois. The plot has Lange adopting Berry's abandoned crack baby only to have to face a custody battle when Barry wants the child back. Gyllenhaal's layered presentation of the African-American community and Berry's recovery is surprising, though Mark Isham's score is obtrusive. Berry is well matched with Cuba Gooding Jnr as a smiling suitor, but she lacks Lange's screen empathy. When Berry drops tears on a book, we feel sorry for the book. The racial politics make the hearing decision inevitable, so thankfully Gyllenhaal continues the story to a humane conclusion.
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Format: VHS Tape
Isaiah is known as one of the greatest prophets of Israel. Such is the case with this little African- American boy who was abandoned in the trash by his crack crazed mother. Three years later his mother, now clean, decides to reclaim her child. All of this sounds easy but little Isaiah has been adopted by a white social worker and her family and she is determined to keep him at all costs. The drama which unfolds before us is heart breaking as we attempt to decide what is in the best interest of this child.
Halle Berry, Jessica Lange And Samuel Jackson give outstanding performances in enacting the rivalry and possessive claims that both women have on this young toddler. Poverty versus Affluence, the feasibility of inter-racial adoptions, marital/parental stability (and responsibility) and the do gooder mentality are themes that run their course throughout the drama. All of these elements are dealt with in the drama and pulls the viewer from one woman's claim to the other. Who is right? Does pigmentation or culture matter? Above all, what has love got to do with it?
Social workers and judges in juvenile courts across the country are daily making these decisions of terminating parental rights and placing children in what they see as stable homes. Losing Isaiah is not a fantasy but a present reality. How to resolve these issues of custody is the dilemma for all involved. There are not any easy answers and unfortunately this film ends with an "easy" answer which isn't realistic.
The little Isaiah in the film, like his prophet namesake calls these adults to spiritual, moral and social accountability. His impact makes Margaret (the social worker) deal with what is going on in her marriage and family.
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