Karen (Annette Bening) became pregnant when she was 14 years old. She gave her baby girl up for adoption. That decision has always haunted her and Karen has become an anxious and distrusting person. She calms down when she gets into a relationship with co-worker Paco (Jimmy Smits).
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Karen's daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), grows up to be a fiercely independent and willful person. She changes jobs frequently. When she becomes a lawyer at a renowned law firm, she has an affair with the CEO, Paul (Samuel L. Jackson), and becomes pregnant. She leaves her job without telling Paul about her pregnancy. She visits the adoption organization to find out about her birth mother and deposits a letter for her. Should her mother try to get into contact with her, the letter will be handed to her.
Lucy (Kerry Washington) longs to be a mother, but can't have children the natural way. She and her husband, Joseph (David Ramsey), contact the same adoption agency and meet with a prospective teenage mom. After many interviews, the mother agrees to let the couple have her baby, but changes her mind after the baby is born. Lucy is heartbroken.
Elizabeth dies in child birth and because no one claims the baby, Lucy adopts her. A year later, Karen finds out about Elizabeth's death and letter, and is informed about her granddaughter. She goes and meets the little girl, who lives in her neighborhood.
Best part of story, including ending:
The process and consequences of adoption are touched upon, as is the importance of family, but in a casual, matter of fact way.
Best scene in story:
Where she tries to handle the get together with Paco.
Opinion about the main character:
Her awkwardness and her good heart, though you don't get to understand why she waited that long to find her daughter.