Expect Sigourney Weaver to receive an Oscar nod for her work in The Girl in the Park, which got a warm reception at this year's Toronto fest. Weaver plays Julia Sandburg, a 40-something business executive and mother of two, including a toddler named Maggie. Julia's life, which we can sense has been planned down to the smallest detail, is unexpectedly shipwrecked when, during routine playtime in a park one day, Maggie goes missing under her nose. The child is not found, and her disappearance is tied to a string of similar abductions in the area, leaving practically no hope. Cut to fifteen years later -- Julia now looks to be in her late 50s and has spent the last fifteen years living a solitary, robotic existence, the disappearance having disintegrated her marriage, poisoned her relationship with her remaining child, and taken a toll on her mental health. Existing more or less as a shut-in these past years, her own relatives, including her son and new daughter-in-law, can hardly believe it when she turns up at a family function.
The son and daughter-in-law, played by Alessandro Nivola and Keri Russell, are budding suburbanites who are planning for a new child and have no intention of living their lives in the past, but the past is the only place Julia feels safe, and there seems to be little prospect of her returning to any kind of social normalcy. This is the lay of the land when Louise comes into the picture. A sleazy drifter and scam-artist in her young twenties, played effectively by Superman's dame Kate Bosworth, Louise meets Julia in the city by chance and picks up on her vulnerability, perhaps sensing she's some old, lonely lesbian who can be taken for a ride and cleaned out or more simply, someone who will feel sorry for her. During their first meeting, Louise gives Julia a phoney tale of woe, and in the space of a few minutes, Julia has her checkbook out and is shelling out for travel fare and medical expenses for an unborn child (which doesn't exist.) Louise then wisely disappears, but their interaction isn't over yet.