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In Hallmark Hall of Fame's "Lost Child," a woman finds her family among the Navajo.

Reservation Roots

Hallmark Hall of Fame gears up for the holiday season with the "The Lost Child," a warm and engaging account of a woman who discovers the shocking story of her own roots. Based on Yvette Melanson's autobiography, "Looking for Lost Bird," "Lost Child" stars Mercedes Ruehl as Rebecca. Ruehl won an Academy Award for her work nine years ago in "The Fisher King" with Robin Williams. She's also been in a number of other movies, including "Last Action Hero" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Married to the Mob" with Michelle Pfeiffer and "Big" with Tom Hanks. Rebecca has known since she was a child that she was adopted. She also knows that she had a twin brother, but her adoptive father tells her the family wasn't able to take him, too, because the rule was "only one to a customer." As a teen-ager, Rebecca loses her adoptive mother to an unspecified illness. When her father remarries, his new wife essentially forces him to chose between her and his daughter. Rebecca's father sides with his new wife. After a tour in the Navy, Rebecca meets Jack (Jamey Sheridan of "Chicago Hope"), marries him and has a couple of daughters. When her adoptive father dies, Rebecca's thoughts turn to her own origins. As a result of an Internet search, she discovers the surprising facts: She and her brother were born on a Navajo reservation, then stolen shortly after birth and sold to the Jewish couple who raised her. "The Lost Child" centers on what happens as Rebecca takes her two daughters to the Arizona reservation to meet her Navajo family. Her birth mother is dead, but Rebecca finds her father, her sisters, her aunts and uncles, and a slew of cousins, all of whom welcome back their lost relative. Overjoyed at her discovery and intent on learning the ways of her native people, Rebecca encourages her husband to join her. Jack and the children, however, are not as enthusiastic about life among the Navajo as Rebecca is. Ruehl's pure and shining talent as an actor is what makes the drama work. Her Rebecca is stoic, full of dignity and purpose, and committed completely to learning all she can about her lost family. Two others in the cast offer strong support: Tantoo Cardinal ("Legends of the Fall") as Rebecca's Navajo Aunt Mary, and Ned Romero as Yazzi, Rebecca's birth father. Director Karen Arthur filmed the story on location, using Arizona's orange sunrises and purple sunsets, as well as its majestic, rugged terrain to excellent advantage. "The Lost Child" is a sure bet for family entertainment as the holidays approach.

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