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NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by AJ. who says..."The movie is rather weak, but the performances are VERY strong!
The movie opens with Brenda (Julianne Moore) wandering through the Projects at night. She gets to the hospital, goes into the emergency room and takes her hands out of her pockets. Theyre cut to pieces and all bloody.
Next, we meet Lorenzo (Samuel L. Jackson), a cop, and his partner who are trying to pick up a guy on a warrant from the next town. He gets a call about seeing Brenda to take a report on her stolen car, and he heads for the hospital.
Brenda is pretty shell-shocked and it takes a while, but she finally reveals that Cody, her four-year-old son was in the backseat of her car. Lorenzo freaks and has an asthma attack and the doctor has to give him a shot. Its also revealed that Brenda's brother is a cop in the next town - a predominately white town.
The search begins. Brendas brother goes overboard and calls every cop car to seal up the projects and look for clues. Tensions get high as the media goes wild. Lorenzo takes Brenda home and cant help but feel theres something shes not telling him. After dropping her off at her place, he starts to drive home and realizes hes being followed. He pulls over and finds out its a volunteer group that helps look for missing kids. He declines their help and goes home.
The next day, he visits his son - whos in jail. Then he checks the situation. Brenda has helped a sketch artist do a rendering of the Negro man who took her car.
Theres still no sign of Cody and tensions are going through the roof around the projects. Lorenzo again asks Brenda what really happened to Cody and she pleads with him to believe her, that Cody is her life and she would never hurt him. She goes by the day care center where she works and the children try to cheer her up. As shes leaving, a mother tells her to stay away from her child.
The white towns cops show up at the projects and arrest a man. They work him over pretty good, drag him back to the precinct and hold up the drawing of the wanted man. He kinds of looks like the sketch. They start to question him when Lorenzo and Brendas brother show up. The brother goes thermal and pounds the guy; the cops have to drag them apart. Lorenzo leaves in disgust and runs into his partner outside. The Feds are about to take over the case and Lorenzo asks his partner to stall them for one more day.
That night, the police make their presence known in the projects. Things are close to exploding and Lorenzo begs the cops to stand down, let tempers cool. They do, but several tenants dont! The situation erupts into a full-scale riot. Fires are set, people beaten, cops jumped and arrests made everywhere.
Lorenzo calls in the volunteer group and suggests they search Freedomland. Its the site of an old foundlings home - abandoned for years - and the only place in the area that a small child could wander or hide for some time. They also feel that taking Brenda there will get the truth out of her via the psychological impact of the place.
The searchers gather and Lorenzo learns that their leader lost her son about ten years before. As they search, she talks to Brenda. She tells her how she wishes she knew where her son was, how she knows who did it, but cant prove it. She runs through (several times!) what she would like to say to the man to get him to tell her where the body is. Gradually, she shifts the context of the sentence to asking Brenda.
Brenda cracks and tells them this is the wrong place. She leads them to a shallow grave covered with heavy rocks. Cody is buried there. Lorenzo calls in the forensic team and cant help but wonder how Brenda could move such heavy boulders.
Lorenzo takes her back to the police department and they talk. Brenda was having an affair with a man from the projects and would feed Cody cough syrup to get him to sleep, so she could have sex with the man without interruption. She told him it was liquid vitamins. One night, Cody wouldnt go down and they had a fight. Brenda walked out to see the man - even though she knew it wasnt for sex, it was to break it up. When she returned, she found Cody dead under the table. Hed overdosed on the cough syrup. Brenda lost it, not knowing what to do. She drove out to the woods and dug his grave with her bare hands. Then she called her (old) boyfriend and asked him to help. He carried Cody out there, buried him and put the rocks over the grave - both as a tribute and to keep animals away. Both he and Brenda are taken away.
Lorenzo visits Brenda in prison and tells her to channel her grief into something positive - helping other prisoners etc. Then he visits his son and breaks down into tears.
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Brought to you by
Julianne Moore says she was carjacked by a black man, leaving her 4 year old in the backseat.
It turns out she made up the story after sleeping with her neighbor, neglecting her son and later finding that he drank a bottle of cough syrup killing himself.
She buried the kid in a park
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