Don’t Sell My Baby (2023): Almost being a genre of its own makes Lifetime’s cinematic explorations come off as loosely connected episodes of the same show. What strikes me as hilariously impressive is how little these drama-fuelled movies actually aim to impress.
Lifetime knows its aim to be about halfway in between the likes of soap operas and the hurdles which require at least a smidgen of cinematic value– a film that doesn’t necessarily have to walk the distance and go beyond the drama of the narrative. And about dialogues; the production seems to have quotes from unpopular motivational authors at the ready.
Don’t Sell My Baby (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
There’s no big reveal waiting for you right around the corner of the climax with Don’t Sell My Baby. From the very dawn of a screaming Brooke’s pleadings, we can ascertain what haunts her. A very pregnant Brooke’s attempt to call her friend Nicolette is halted by Alex, who drags her back to the place she has escaped from. Since then, Nicolette’s days have been circling around the case of her missing friend and also the fact that she is just finding out that she is pregnant too.
What worries the 16-year-old living in a group home is that the pregnancy will stand in the way of what she has scribbled out in her mind. The group home manager Rachel is all shaken out of her chair about the missing pregnant girl she is supposed to be the guardian to. So the only person looking after Nicolette’s needs and anxieties is the new teacher, Sandy, who has made the inconvenient choice of joining in the middle of a year and has instantly taken to the firecracker (apparently) that is Nicolette.
What Happens To Brooke?
Let me get one thing out of the way. What we’re dealing with in Don’t Sell My Baby is an illegal baby-selling ring that uses its adoption agency name as a front and the group home as its way to access and manipulate young girls into giving up their newborns for a bundle of cash. In charge of supplying the naive, vulnerable pregnant girls to the den of the monster that is Abigail is the group home manager Rachel herself.
The film barely spends any time making sense of why Brooke left her boyfriend Trent’s house to meet Abigail. But there’s a possibility that she was kidnapped by Abigail’s henchman Alex and brought into the sketchy facility to give birth. When Brooke wakes up to find that her newborn is gone and the nurse has just handed her a fat envelope as cash, she chooses not to look at the silver lining like the nurse suggests and breaks out of there in a fashion that wouldn’t convince a 5-year-old.
Tracking the phone that she stole from Claudia to get in touch with Nicolette, Alex eliminates the liability that is Brooke, and that too in front of her friend. Nicolette falls into the depths of grief, which is made even more excruciating by her teenage pregnancy. And I guess abortion isn’t an option in the world that Don’t Sell My Baby has amateurishly painted, as no one seems to want or even suggest the very rational option.
How Do Nicolette And Sandy Get Close To The Crime Ring?
When Nicolette lets her guard down and gives a shot to Sandy, she sees that Sandy may have more insight regarding her situation than she would expect. Sandy had also dealt with teenage pregnancy and had given her baby up for adoption. However, lost in the lack of good writing, the point may be the conflict and guilt tripping that Sandy had faced from her parents is undoubtedly a relevant issue.
Ever since she had known of Abigail, who Rachel brought in to talk to Nicolette about the option of settling for a better future for her baby, Sandy has been suspicious about the sketchy affiliation Rachel has with the adoption agency. On the night of meeting Sandy for dinner and a talk, Nicolette falls over when she notices that Alex’s car has been following her.
Although it does seem a tad lazy from the perspective of the audience that Detective Holmes barely even tries to scratch the surface of Brooke’s death and Nicolette’s experience, it ironically, and quite amusingly works out in the movie’s favor considering that is exactly how a cop would treat a case that doesn’t force his hands. Meanwhile, Rachel and Abigail have noticed that the walls are closing in on them, and Abigail makes it a priority to have Nicolette kidnapped.
Don’t Sell My Baby (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
How Does Sandy Help Bust The Baby-Selling Ring?
It’s a tad tacky how everything about a film attempting to shed light on how young pregnant girls are exploited and brutalized by the system that is supposed to protect them, has the desire for parenthood at the center of every conflict. Even Sandy happens to be a woman looking to get IVF treatment with her husband.
Not to be too preachy and impose my personal beliefs, but a film speaking for legal adoption options could’ve at least explored or even mentioned all the other extremely valid and legal options available for underaged pregnancies. Even Nicolette’s ne’er do well high school jock of a boyfriend, Jake, is shown to have a sudden change of heart and an inclination to be a dad in a rather absurd way. Bit of a stretch, innit?
Nicolette’s friend Vanesha who also lives at the group home, gets a whiff of something shady happening with the pregnant girls living there. When Jake shows up and the two track down Misty, another girl who lived there and only escaped sure death by playing along and taking the money Abigail offered, they are certain that Rachel isn’t the benevolent social worker they previously believed her to be.
Learning of it all from Vanesha and Jake and getting a strange vibe from her chat with Rachel makes Sandy take matters into her own hand and track down Abigail. Determined to rescue the student she has come to really care about, Sandy follows Abigail to a shady building on the edge of the town. Before Abigail can get in, Sandy enfeebles her with a can of pepper spray and runs to Nicolette’s rescue.
She’s also done the smart thing and called Detective Holmes to make him aware of her location. But the extraction wouldn’t be that easy, considering Abigail has managed to call Alex, who’s now back with a gun in his hand, threatening to kill Nicolette if she doesn’t tape up Sandy’s wrists. But Nicolette is quick to reach for the can of pepper spray and attack Alex.
By the time Abigail has walked in, the cops have already surrounded the place. Just how ridiculously convenient the conclusion is only proved further that this film shouldn’t have left the archives. Apparently, Sandy loves Nicolette so much that she has adopted her. And IVF treatment has also worked out for her, and she is now expecting another newborn in the family. Nicolette and Jake are proving to be quite adept at parenting.
Even though the “people can surprise you” theory is something I would really like to believe at this point of the movie, even a short educational video would probably have characters that are way more convincing about their actions and convictions than the ones in Don’t Sell My Baby.