Missing Plot Summary
June is a teenager with a frosty relationship with her mother, Grace. The mother-daughter duo lost James, husband and father, to cancer a few years ago. Grace has tried to move on and now dates Kevin Lin, a successful techie.
June does not approve of it openly but feels life is moving too fast for her. She has a night of wild partying when Kevin and Grace go to Colombia for a romantic getaway. She is almost late to pick them up from the airport the next day but it doesn’t matter; they are missing.
She files a missing report person with help from her mother’s friend, Heather, who is a lawyer. June also has help from a Colombian gig worker, Javi, who helps her on the ground to uncover the truth. The search returns incredulous results for June that end up shaping her life and force her to rethink her past. She also finds herself in a bid against time as her search for Grace gets improbable by the minute.
Why does Kevin Lin take Rachel Page to Colombia and create a ruckus?
We discover through Kevin’s emails that he was a con artist. He used to lure women in with fake identities and loot their money. June goes through many emails in Kevin’s inbox that indicate he is a veteran.
Another Google search provides her with evidence of a court case which also saw him get convicted. He met James while in prison and was offered money by James to create this ruckus. James wanted to take his revenge on Grace. He posed as a cabbie and abducted Grace but not without Kevin’s help.
Kevin then recruited Rachel, who was an aspiring actress and resembled Grace, to give the impression that the trip went smoothly. In every angle, Rachel’s face is hidden so as to not reveal the truth about her identity. The kidnapping by actors was another cog in his plan to complete the appearance that Grace was gone and help James weed out Grace’s body.
What triggers June to find Grace’s location?
June had almost given up all hope when she discovered Heather died. What weighed even heavily on her was the realization that she herself was indirectly responsible for Heather’s death by alerting the mastermind on the Guise app. She closes her laptop in distress and we also notice that the person behind all of this has hacked into June’s local resources. They can read and see everything that happens on her laptop and phone, even having access to her Ring device. But all of a sudden, June reopens her laptop and sees the various screens in the security footage her mother installed.
One of them resembles their previous house. She instantly uses the video on her laptop to compare the two snippets and she strikes gold. The two places are an exact match and June senses something fishy going on, giving the story a completely new turn. She gets a call from Jimmy “the church guy”, who turns out to be somebody else.
Who kills Heather and why? What makes her so important in Grace’s life?
Jimmy turns out to be James, June’s father! This was the big twist in Missing that really threw open a world of possibilities. He is the criminal mastermind behind the entire incident. James met Kevin whilst in prison at the Eastham facility. That is where he concocted the plan to exact revenge on Grace for taking him away from June, when in reality he had no credible justification to blame Grace.
James was the one who killed Heather in her office, which June discovers when she follows the Guise clue. Heather’s phone number is how she locates her.
But Heather had no involvement in the wrongdoing. James killed her because he thought the truth had got out and June would go to the authorities. Heather was a significant presence in Grace’s life as revealed by the ending. She was the first resource person who contacted and helped Grace in starting a new life; right from changing her previous name Sarah, to adopting her new identity of Grace. The opening bits we see are a trimmed reflection of how Heather helped Grace to move to LA and move past her emotional baggage.
How Google proves to be Missing’s “missing” centrepiece
Google is at the centre of everything that June does in Missing, Right from accessing the Gmail accounts of Kevin and Grace, to using the web search to find Javi. Without Google, the mystery of Grace’s disappearance could never have been solved. It is an extremely important thing to point out because Google reflects the internet’s unassailable place in our lives. It has become indispensable for us. We simply cannot live without using Google’s services. Another feature of its position in the narrative is how easy it is to know someone through his internet footprint.
With a few simple clicks, any person can invade your privacy and gain an advantageous position over you. Missing’s universe brought to life a scary reality where levels of mistrust and paranoia will be at their peak.
Why did Grace lie to June about her father, James?
The editors cleverly left out the second half of the opening clip we saw of James playing with June. From the first viewing, it was a warm, precious moment from June’s memory of her father. But when we actually see the whole video, we realize that there was more than what met the eye.
James was actually physically and emotionally abusive of Grace. her old name was Sarah. James was a drug addict and even peddled drugs. Despite going to rehab and promising to change, he fell back into his old habits. Grace had become fed up with his antics and wanted him out of June’s life.
She went online and had the idea to make him culpable in a drug case that would completely filter him out. He would go to prison for about two decades. She calls the police on James, who vows to murder Grace when he comes out.
To vindicate him in June’s eyes, Grace lies about James. She concocts a story that he died of cancer to make sure June remembers him well. But as we see, the truth confronts her in a hard-hitting way.
How does Grace and June’s relationship resuscitate in the face of adversity?
The ending of Missing saw June being kidnapped by James and brought to their old home. She is tied up by James and we see Grace being kept in a small shed outside the main house. She manages to upend James when he enters and runs towards the house. James had thrown a piece of June’s clothing and Grace instantly recognized it. She unties June but James recovers in time to come back. He has a gun and even shoots Grace. He then takes June hostage and tries to tie her up again but Grace stabs James with a piece of broken glass.
June’s attempts to call Javi in between using Angel’s smartwatch proved fruitless as the battery died before she could tell him the complete address. June uses Siri and gives a command to her to call 911 through the video camera. The sound is picked up by James’ phone’s microphone kept on the table.
Police come just in time and save the mother/daughter duo. However, James dies of his wounds at his table. Not long after, we see that Grace and June have gone back to living a normal life but the adversity has changed their relationship completely.
The soft spot June had for James is gone and that has abetted the enhanced love she has for Grace. We saw at the beginning that June took Grace for granted and perhaps did not understand how hard parenting can be at times. She listened to the voicemails Grace had sent her previously when Grace was missing. It goes to show how crisis can really throw people together and give them a renewed sense of life’s importance.
This was a theme taken from Searching as well. And it is equally true in our real world also. The fear of losing someone we love is enough to increase our love for them multi-folds. Missing drives that point home and does it with a sense of humour at the very end when Grace jokingly reacts to June’s “Love you” message, mimicking what June did at the beginning of the film.
Read More: Missing Movie Review