Plot: Carly (Emily Tennant) feels trapped in her current living situation, as her mother Annalise (Emily Rose) runs a tight ship and expects a lot from her. But she just wants to have fun and live life, which runs in direct conflict with the lifestyle her mother would like to see her engage in. When her father offers her a chance to tour Europe, Carly is told she can’t go since the trip falls in the middle of finals, a decision that pushes Carly over the brink. She sneaks out and decides to try to find a new place to crash, but soon finds herself alone on the street. But she catches the attention of some hired goons, who kidnap her and take her to a room with several other girls. It soon becomes clear she is going to be groomed and sold to the highest bidder, but meanwhile, Annalise is doing all she can to track down her daughter. Can she reach Carly in time or will her daughter be another victim of human trafficking?
Entertainment Value: If all human trafficking operations were all run like the one in Daughter for Sale, this global epidemic would be over in minutes, as this one is run worse than Blockbuster. The head villain runs a teen shelter on the same property as an import/export business, which is about as obvious as a red flag can be, but that is just the start of how inept this underground business is. The bad guy holds meetings with all the windows open, doesn’t lock his doors, and keeps the phones of missing girls in his desk drawer, so yeah, not much of an evil mastermind. So in terms of tension or suspense, there’s not much to be had in Daughter for Sale, but it does offer some unintentional humor at the expense of our villain and our mother on a mission. Annalise pretty much checks off every “do not do this” column for a woman in her situation, including giving insider police information to the bad guy, but the movie treats like a skilled vigilante and of course, showers her with glory in the finale. This is a festival of errors to be honest, but how often is a human trafficking movie this ripe with comedic gold? A g rated, overly simplistic take on a dark, complex topic, Daughter for Sale does little to shine light on the subject, but does offer campy, over the top fun at times.
No nakedness. I mean, this is a Lifetime movie, so you can’t expect rampant nudity, but for such a dark, disturbing movie, the movie never makes much an effort to show how cruel and violent the human trade can be. I know some of this is because of the cable broadcast situation, but we’ve seen Lifetime push those buttons before when the story called for more intense scenarios. No blood either, just some bruises and a little burst of violence in a couple places. In the end, the movie is just way too sanitized and never even shows a flicker of the horrific experiences these women can endure, which seems like a poor choice. The dialogue includes bratty teen outbursts, a cop who wants to tell more but can’t, and a mom who is a wild loose cannon, running all over town yelling at everyone about how she’s a judge. Seriously, this woman might as well begin and end every conversation by reminding people that she’s a judge, with off the rails, terrible instinctual decisions in between. Some craziness creeps in, mostly from how simple and obvious the sex trafficking operation is, as well as the unstable mother portrayal, and the lack of darkness in such a brutal subject matter. So not too insane, as you can tell they kept the reins tight on this one.
Overall Insanity: 2/10