Missing (2023) is a thriller directed by Will Merrick and Nick Johnson and follows a screen life format featuring an intriguing story written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty. The film serves as a standalone sequel to 2018 hit Searching and features an impressive ensemble cast, including Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, and Nia Long. 

The story of Missing revolves around June Allen, a teenager who tries her best to locate her missing mother. June’s mother goes missing during a vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, and June, who is alone back home, take matters into her own hands and gets too involved in the ongoing investigation.

Like its predecessor, Searching, Missing uses a similar structure and execution. However, the filmmakers have made subtle changes to the script to ensure the two films don’t feel identical. In addition to its gripping narrative, Missing tackles the sensitive topic of domestic abuse, highlighting the inadequacy of our legal system in ensuring the safety of abuse victims, and in the midst of all that, gives the audiences a window into a thrilling narrative that always stays one step ahead of the audiences. 

Missing (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Missing begins with June, a.k.a Junebug (Storm Reid), a teenager who has a sort of distant relationship with her mother, Grace Allen (Nia Long). June misses her father, James (Tim Griffin), who is not with them anymore, and whose presence would have made things easier for her. She had very few memories of him, but she keeps those very close to her heart and is still processing the loss after so many years. The reason for her feeling distant from her mother is Kevin (Ken Leung), her new boyfriend, who has also planned a trip with Grace. June is mad because the trip falls on the same day as father’s day, and June wants her mother to be near her on that day.

We are then clued into Grace’s life – almost all of which takes place on her laptop. In the absence of her mother, June hosts a party – taking the use of online services to do almost all her tasks, including cleaning, venmo-ing her friends for booze, or just setting everything up so that all of them can post about the fun they had on the internet.

The next day of the party, June wakes up with the reminder of having to receive her mother and Kevin at the airport. She quickly books a cleaning service with TaskRabbit and rushes to the airport, only to find out that her mother and Kevin were not on the flight. June, who is obviously a very intelligent kid and definitely tech-savvy, tries to find out what’s wrong with her mother. She gets into details about her mother’s booking details and traces it to the place where they were staying.

June, who is now desperate to know the whereabouts of her mother, decides to call the hotel in Colombia where Grace and Kevin had planned to stay. In spite of the receptionist speaking in a different language, June uses google translate and uses her hunches to get more info. The key piece of information that she gains from this conversation is that Grace and Kevin had left all their luggage at the hotel before they went AWOL.

After receiving this piece of info, June obviously gets a little more anxious. After some more digging, she sees that the hotel has a security camera installed, and she thinks that the footage may hold some info that might help her trace Grace. The receptionist, however, tells her that she has only 48 hours to get that footage before the tapes rewrite on the old recordings.

Unable to think what she must do with that info, June reaches out to her mother’s friend and legal advisor, Heather Demore (Amy Landecker), who helps her establish contact with the United States embassy in Colombia. She speaks to Agen Elijah Park (Daniel Henney) – an officer assigned to take over the case. He informs her that he is actively collaborating with the local authorities to locate her missing mother and her friend.

Meanwhile, June, who is now disappointed at the authorities for not taking things as seriously as they sound, takes matters into her hands. With the leftover money she has left, she hires a local guy from Go Ninja (one of those local apps that allow people to hire someone to run errands). She comes in contact with Xavi Ramos, who agrees to head over to the hotel and ask them for the footage. In spite of the task being way out of his professional allowance, Xavier decides to help June because she reminds him of his estranged son.

Meanwhile, June cracks into Kevin’s Google One password and ID and logs into it. She gets to know a lot of details about and most of the leads make her even more suspicious about his involvement in her mother’s missing case. After stumbling from one clue to another, and with the constant help of Xavi, she gets to know that her mother and Kevin had gone to one of those love bridges to put a lock to inscribe their love.

What happened at the love bridge?

After connecting the dots, and tracing Kevin’s credit card statement, June lands up with the idea that Kevin and her mother had gone to the love bridge after buying one of those locks at the local stores. After accessing one of those public cameras, she gets to the part of the footage where Kevin had proposed to her mother for marriage, and she said yes. 

At the same time, June’s friend forwards her news about a camera phone’s viral video, which shows that some people then kidnaped Kevin and her mother as they were walking on the streets near the love bridge. 

What was Kevin in his past life?

After going through more information about Kevin through his emails and other similar stuff, June stumbles onto the contact of a number that feels shady. She calls that number to find out that it belongs to Jimmy. She discovers that he had met Kevin during a re-entry program for ex-offenders, where he served as Kevin’s counselor.

This triggers June again as she realizes that Kevin was a con-man who had previously conned a lot of women by following similar tactics that he has applied to June’s mom. 

She also stumbles onto a picture of a woman in Kevin’s mail that makes her speculate even further that Kevin had done the same with her mom too. 

Had Kevin really conned June’s mom?

Meanwhile, the investigation keeps going further, and agent Parker has now placed officers in June’s place. Kevin has now become a prime suspect in the missing case, but June’s doubts do not manifest as she finally gets into her mother’s account.

There, she checks into her mother’s dating profile and how Kevin approached her. Reading her messages makes June momentarily realize that Kevin might have come out of his con-man avatar and has genuine feelings for her mother. 

Where exactly did Grace go missing?

Simultaneously the Columbian police are out searching for Kevin as June’s realization is cut short when she digs deeper into Kevin’s mail and finds that he has been communicating with an actress who was then hired to impersonate her mother on the trip. In fact, all of the images that Kevin has been sending June were, in fact, of this impersonator who was hired by saying that she is part of a movie. 

As June finds these new developments, the police find out that Grace went missing somewhere on the way to the airport in LA itself and that she never made it to Columbia.

The case thus takes an interesting turn, but when the police find Kevin hiding somewhere at the border of Columbia, he is shot dead, thus closing up the most important lead to finding grace. 

What happens to Heather?

After hitting another dead end, June digs deeper to find that Kevin was using a secured source to communicate with some people. Posing as Kevin, she asks for the contact of the number that she is messaging, only for the receiver to send her the number of Heather, Grace’s best friend, and attorney.

Since the secure line disconnects her midway, June decides to drive over to Heather’s office to confront her about it, only to find her dead in her own office. This completely breaks June up as she realizes that the whole thing goes deeper and darker than she expected.

Missing (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:

As June gets more and more desperate, she is warned by the officials to stay away from the ongoing investigation. Because of Heather’s sudden demise, an old truth that Grace was hiding from June for a long time comes to the surface.

The internet is now ablaze with theories that Grace might be behind her own kidnapping or missing case. Speculations start hitting the accelerator as June gets madder, and the truth finally comes up that Grace previously went by the name Sarah and she had moved to LA with this new identity 12 years ago.

Since most of the important leads are now dead, the officers from her home are called off, and June is on the verge of losing all hope of leading to her mom.

Who is Jimmy, and why does he contact June again?

While she is online fighting the trolls who are saying shit about her mom, she discovers that Kevin had bought some security camera that she gets a live feed off. Upon thinking hard, she feels that she knows the place where the live feed is from. As she is trying to put more focus into remembering it, she gets a call from Jimmy – the same guy who she had called regarding Kevin’s sentence in prison.

As she is on the call, we see that someone in a hooded jacket is approaching the front door of June’s house; as he is on the phone, we suspect that it is Jimmy, only for him to reveal his face to be James. It is James – June’s dad, who we had thought to have died long ago.

He requests June to open the door so that he can explain more about what has happened. He then enters and tells her that her mother is crazy and that she had given a wrong testimony against him, tarnishing his reputation in society and leading him away from his only daughter.

While June believes him initially, she readily stumbles into his lie when he says that he is in Eastham prison in Texas – the same prison that Kevin had been put in. This makes her realize that it must be James who would have met Kevin there and planned the whole ordeal together. June tries to move away from James and make a phone call, but James is quick, and he kidnaps her, too, putting her in the trunk of his car and driving away.

What was James’ plan all along?

The ending of Missing begins with the audience realizing how Grace (Sarah) was abducted. We learn that James, during his sentence in prison, met Kevin, who he conspired with to kidnap Sarah. He did it because he is one of those red-flag men who never change.

Even after serving 12 years in prison, he wanted to teach his wife a lesson and had planned to make Kevin get closer to his wife. When the two of them were about to leave for Columbia, James – posing as an Uber driver, came to pick them up and, on their way to the airport, abducted and prisoned Sarah in their old house. He then carefully planted Rachel to impersonate her.

After putting June in the car, James drives her to the old house too. Through old laptop snaps, we get to know the actual truth about James. We get to know that Sarah (Grace) was abused by James relentlessly. Since it was an older time, she was unable to get rid of James – the leniency of domestic abuse made her rethink further. So, after extensive research, she comes to the conclusion that it would be better if she convicted him of drug possession instead, leading him to prison for at least a decade.

In the present, we come to know that Heather was Grace’s attorney, and she was the one who helped her to change her identity and start a new life with June.

Meanwhile, James brings June to the old house and ties her up in a chair as he goes out to the outhouse where Grace is in captivity. Somehow, Grace is able to run away from him, locking him inside, but before she can escape, she hears June’s scream and goes inside the house to help her. The mother and daughter are reunited, but James breaks the locks of the outhouse and comes inside to get the two of them.

This is where we learn that James was keeping track of June’s whereabouts and activities because he had hacked into her devices. Thinking of ideas to escape from there, June connects to James’s wifi with her Applewatch and calls Xavi for help. While Xavi is initially angry because of June’s comments about him not trying enough to connect to his son, he again decides to help her. As he tries to head to Instagram (as instructed by June) to find the exact location of their old house, James barges in, getting profusely mad at June for making a call.

Are June and Grace able to escape from the old house?

In anger, he tries to drag June out of the room they are both locked in, and as Grace tries to intervene, he shoots her with his gun. While he is trying to drag June off the room, we see Grace mustering all the courage she can and stabbing James in the neck with the shard of glass that got broken when he shot her.

James, who is severely injured, locks the room and tries going downstairs to call a hospital nearby. We see him typing to find hospitals when he bleeds out, leaving June and Grace locked in the room with no help in plain sight.

As Grace is slowly bleeding out, June reminiscences about all the things, her mother used to do. Her memories reach a crescendo where she remembers how she mocked her mother for excessively relying on Siri. This gives June an idea where she remembers that the Camera in the old house was open on her laptop, and since James was tracking her laptop, she knows that she can give Siri a command.

This is where she commands Siri to call the police, and the later part of the arrival is shown as an episode on the Netflix show ‘Unification’ that we previously saw a glimpse of in the opening moments of the film. The Netflix show, in a cheeky way, connects the world of Missing and that of its spiritual prequel ‘Searching.’

The ending of Missing signifies Grace finally getting rid of her abuser and June realizing the value of the people close to her.

Read More: How to Watch the latest Screenlife Thriller ‘Missing’ starring Storm Reid?

Missing (2023) Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Missing (2023) Cast – Storm Reid, Nia Long, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker
Where to watch Missing

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