The title is evidently the former, though the movie is hardly the overwrought mess that I'd expected to see (for example: Message in a Bottle). Instead, The Deep End of the Ocean is a surprisingly thoughtful and laconic character study, full of nuance and genuine emotion, largely driven by Pfeiffer's unraveling character Beth. The well-known plot involves the sudden disappearance of Beth's 2 year-old son Ben, who vanishes while she is visiting Chicago. Nine agonizing years later, a kid who can only be Ben shows up -- as Sam, a neighbor's boy who wants to mow the lawn. Sure enough, it's him, but he doesn't remember his family,
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