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Losing Isaiah

4.7 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Losing Isaiah (View amazon detail page) ASIN: B0000A2ZNM Binding: DVD

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jessica Lange, Halle Berry, David Strathairn, Cuba Gooding Jr., Daisy Eagan
  • Directors: Stephen Gyllenhaal
  • Writers: Naomi Foner, Seth Margolis
  • Producers: Hawk Koch, Kimberly Brent, Naomi Foner, Sharon Owyang
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2003
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A2ZNM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,981 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Losing Isaiah" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Isaiah is known as one of the greatest prophets of Israel. Such is the case with this little African- American boy who was abandoned in the trash by his crack crazed mother. Three years later his mother, now clean, decides to reclaim her child. All of this sounds easy but little Isaiah has been adopted by a white social worker and her family and she is determined to keep him at all costs. The drama which unfolds before us is heart breaking as we attempt to decide what is in the best interest of this child.
Halle Berry, Jessica Lange And Samuel Jackson give outstanding performances in enacting the rivalry and possessive claims that both women have on this young toddler. Poverty versus Affluence, the feasibility of inter-racial adoptions, marital/parental stability (and responsibility) and the do gooder mentality are themes that run their course throughout the drama. All of these elements are dealt with in the drama and pulls the viewer from one woman's claim to the other. Who is right? Does pigmentation or culture matter? Above all, what has love got to do with it?
Social workers and judges in juvenile courts across the country are daily making these decisions of terminating parental rights and placing children in what they see as stable homes. Losing Isaiah is not a fantasy but a present reality. How to resolve these issues of custody is the dilemma for all involved. There are not any easy answers and unfortunately this film ends with an "easy" answer which isn't realistic.
The little Isaiah in the film, like his prophet namesake calls these adults to spiritual, moral and social accountability. His impact makes Margaret (the social worker) deal with what is going on in her marriage and family.
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Format: DVD
Perhaps the biggest complaint I have with custody battles is that they are ultimately based around the selfishness of the adults involved, whether it be a battle between the child's mother and father, or between the biological parent(s) and the foster parent(s). "Losing Isaiah" is an example of a movie that uses this sad truth to tell a compelling story.

Normally, I'd be quick to write off someone like Halle Berry's character (a former crack addict who abandoned her baby in an alley) as someone unfit to raise this child. I'd also be uneasy about tearing Isaiah away from the only home he's ever known. Thankfully, this film does not end there.

After the courtroom decision is rendered, we see a much different Isaiah than the playful, cheerful child we first encountered. Did anyone bother to stop and ask him what he wanted? In an ideal world, someone would have. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world, but at least we have people who (albeit a little slowly) realize this mistake in "Losing Isaiah." Were I to be given the assignment of filming a movie based around a custody battle, this is the kind of movie I would make.
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For those of you that think Halle is just a pretty face...hopefully her Oscar winning performance in "Monster's Ball" showed you that she wasn't...but if you still have doubts this is a movie you should see. Halle is well deserving of an Oscar in this film as well, she plays a crack addicted homeless woman who loses it all and dumps her baby in the trash just so she can get a hit...when she comes out of her drug stooper she then realizes her mistake, but it's too late. The baby was adopted by a white family and she believes her baby to have died. The movie takes off from there, the white family raises and cares for the child. After Halle's character struggles but reforms herself she finds out that the child is still alive. Then the battle for who is rightfully the parent of the child begins. Some of the highlights here...Samuel L. Jackson's role as Halle's Lawyer and the scene in which the 2 "mothers" meet in the bathroom for the first time...that is a very powerful scene. The movie is a very powerful and moving piece of cinema. Excellent film.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is one of my favorites...one which I shared with foster parents in my professional capacity as a social worker.

We see the inevitable pull between birth mother and adoptive mother, cheering for each even as the tug nears its conclusion.

One of the downsides of this movie is the abrupt separation between the adoptive mother and the child. In my social worker capacity, I was able to orchestrate a more gradual reunification.

However, this is a movie and the drama depends upon the gut-wrenching loss.

Well worth the time and tears.
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This is a great movie! Halle Berry really played her part as drug addicted mother. The story line was so surreal,because for some kids this is their life story. Jessica Lange was awesome in her role as an adopted mother who took took care of a drug addicted baby. This movie will have you in tears and bring out all kinds of emotions. Job well done!!!!!!
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I love losing Issiah! How do you choose between these mothers. one took care of him when he was left alone as a baby, and halle berry clean up her act and came back to reclaim her child. The only thing I hate about movies like these is if a child's been raised by a family for so many years, and there actual parents come to take them back and may take some time for the child to adjust to them. I mean that's the only family they have know for the life. It's like another movie-the deep end of the ocean. Excellent film!
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