The Face on the Milk Carton (film)

The Face on the Milk Carton

Title card
Genre Drama
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(s) Dorothea G. Petrie
Producer(s) Robert Silberling
Cinematography Robert Steadman
Editor(s) Charles Bornstein
Running time 87 minutes
Production company(s) Dorothea G. Petrie Productions
Family Productions
Libra Pictures
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release May 24, 1995

The Face on the Milk Carton is a 1995 made for television movie based on the book written by Caroline B. Cooney. The movie stars Kellie Martin as Jennifer Sands/Janie Jessmon, a 16-year-old girl who finds her face on the back of a milk carton and puts the pieces of her past together.


Janie Johnson (Kellie Martin) is 16 and living a happy life. She has great parents named Miranda Johnson (Jill Clayburgh) and Frank Jessmon (Edward Herrmann), and a best friend named Sarah Charlotte (Joanna Canton). But her world is shattered when she spots a picture of missing child Jennifer Sands, whom she recognizes as herself, on Sarah Charlotte's milk carton. Jennifer/Janie searches the attic where she finds a trunk containing items from a girl named "Hannah". When Jennifer/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 3 year old Jennifer/Janie in tow.

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

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

When Jennifer/Janie decides to run away back to the Johnsons, 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 Jodie, and Stephen was supposed to watch her and hold her hand, but he didn't, which is why Hannah had taken her. Jennifer/Janie says she forgives him.

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


See also

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