8:00 PM, 19th August, 1999
Beth Cappadora's (Pfeiffer) fifteen-year high-school reunion takes her with her three children to Chicago, leaving behind her husband Pat (Williams). Registering at the hotel with several hundred other recognition-crazed ex-high-schoolers, Beth leaves her three-year-old, Ben (McElroy), in the care of his seven year old brother, Vincent (Buck). Minutes later, Ben has disappeared. The police are prompt (friends in high places) and even provide office space for the large team of ex-schoolmates that miraculously stay to blitz the city with handbills and free T.V. ads after failing to find Ben the same day. Days later, the last of them have to return to their lives, and Beth is left with the assurance by Detective Candy Bliss (Goldberg) that he will never give up. It's not enough. Beth gives up on life, unable to share everybody else's faith in Ben's return.
Nine years later, Beth has resumed life, the family has moved from Wisconsin to Chicago, and Ben returns. But now he's called Sam (Merriman), has no memory of his original family, and loves his stepfather, George (Kapelos). Reuniting the family involves as much heartache as splitting it did.
Throughout the movie, Pat holds everyone together. But his feelings, evidently as strong as Beth's, go largely unexplored, leaving the character in a supporting role.
The pace slows in the second half, but the acting by Pfeiffer, McElroy, Kapelos, and Jackson is particularly solid. Bring tissues.