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Losing Isaiah

Jessica Lange , Halle Berry , Stephen Gyllenhaal    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Product Description


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

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's Better at Being a Parent? May 12 2004
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Cried SO hard! Feb. 2 2004
By Nora
Format:VHS Tape
I've seen this movie on Lifetime Movie Network last year, in my own home, during the Spring. All I remember is little bits and peices of it, but - at the end ... I was hystarical in TEARS! I don't want to spoil you, but - she (the birth mother) did give back her son to the one that cared for her, because the son was CRYING and not eating a THING for weeks. This is why I was CRYING because it was SUCH a happy ending! Gotta watch it... :) You'll cry, too, if you're as sensitive as I am. :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good story plot ;good acting by "et al" Dec 4 2003
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Emotional Oct. 27 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars DVD Jan. 21 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Do you know if this movie is on DvD I want this movie so bad on dvd and can't find it anywhere.... if it is not do you know if it every will. please let me know thanks
Gayle Insonia
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5.0 out of 5 stars Contaversial Aug. 27 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Since I am adopted myself, I found this a interesting movie. Interestingly enough, the director presents both sides well, and doesn't seem too favor either. This is a relief considering many "political" films that come out today. Many of which, the director tries to brainwash you into thinking his way. (example: Republicans are evil) Instead the director allows you too form your own opinions. This is a heavy film and it will get you involved as well as raise many questions. Such as who is more of a mother? The one who gave birth or the one who raises him? And also just because you can give birth does that make you a mother?This film will leave some feeling that justice has been served, and others it will leave angry. However, this film doesn't have all the answers an it wisely ends unresolved, letting you form your own convictions. My conviction? Some people do not deserve children. But the beauty of this film is that it may leave you feeling otherwise, because it's not manipulative.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars baby in the crack
Give director Stephen Gyllenhaal a lesser actress like Barbara Hershey, or Halle Berry in his this film, and you'll get a fine performance. Read more
Published on June 17 2001 by Peter Shelley
4.0 out of 5 stars AND A CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM
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. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2000 by Bonita L. Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama, Questionable Storyline
Actually, this is more like 3 1/2 stars. This one makes for great drama, but is it really realistic? Read more
Published on April 18 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Losing Isaiah is the best
Losing Isaiah is the best movie that i've seen so what if Isaiah is african american and a white person wants to adopt him the way i see it is it shouldn't be about race it should... Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars jessica lange is the best
i have seen the movie 3-4 times and love it more and more.Jessica Lange is the best actress in this world,and her performence in Losing Isaiah proves it. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I loved this movie my opinion is that he should go back to his mother. This is a wonderful movie I recommend it.
Halle Berry is wonderful in this movie
Published on July 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A very powerful emotional film
Losing Isiah is one of those proper decent films.Even though it is rated R i don't see why it is.It should be a PG-13.In my opinion the court decision was a mistake. Read more
Published on May 1 1999
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