The Face on the Milk Carton (film)

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The Face on the Milk Carton
The Face on the Milk Carton 1995.jpg
Title card
Written by Caroline B. Cooney (novels)
Nancy Isaak
Directed by Waris Hussein
Starring Kellie Martin
Sharon Lawrence
Jill Clayburgh
Edward Herrmann
Richard Masur
Theme music composer Leonard Rosenman
Executive producer Dorothea G. Petrie
ProducerRobert Silberling
Cinematography Robert Steadman
EditorCharles Bornstein
Running time87 minutes
Production companiesDorothea G. Petrie Productions
Family Productions
Libra Pictures
Distributor CBS
Original networkCBS
Original releaseMay 24, 1995 (1995-05-24)

The Face on the Milk Carton is a 1995 American made for television drama film based on Caroline B. Cooney’s 1990 novel of the same name. The movie stars Kellie Martin as Jennifer Margaret Sands/Janie Jessmon, a sixteen-year-old girl who finds her face on the back of a milk carton of child abduction and puts the pieces of her past together.



Janie Jessmon is 16 and living a happy life. She has great parents named Miranda Jessmon and Frank Jessmon and best friend named Sarah Charlotte. Then her world is shattered when she spots a picture of three-year-old missing child Jennifer Sands, whom she recognizes as herself, on Sarah Charlotte's milk carton. Janie searches the attic where she finds a trunk containing items from a girl named "Hannah". When Janie confronts her parents about the fact that she has no baby photos, they admit that they are her grandparents and that Hannah is her real mother. They tell her that Hannah was involved in a cult and showed up at their door one day with three-year-old Janie in tow.

Unable to escape the thought that her parents could have kidnapped her, Janie and her friend Reeve track down the Sands family and realize she has exactly the same red hair as every member of their family.

Janie tells Hannah's parents what she's learned, showing them the milk carton. They believe that Hannah may have kidnapped Janie and posed her as her own child. Janie is quickly reunited with her biological parents, Jonathan and Sada Sands, and her older brother Stephen and younger sister Jodie. Neither Jodie nor Stephen are exactly thrilled.

When Janie decides to run away back to the Jessmons, Stephen tracks her down at a bus station and tells her when they were little, they had been at a shoe store with their mother and Stephen was supposed to watch her, but didn't, which is why Hannah took her. Janie says she forgives him.

Janie still decides to return to her adoptive parents. Her father Jonathan, though sad, accepts this while Jodie and Stephen don't. However, Janie tells Jodie they are still and always will be sisters. As Sada and Janie are driving back to the Jessmons, she tells her about the day at the shoe store, and Janie says she's sorry she was bad. As Janie leaves with Frank Jessmon into their house, Sada Sands comes face to face with Miranda Jessmon, who extends her hand to her warmly.


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