‘Missing’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Who Abducted Grace And June? Why Did Grace Change Her Identity?

There’s something to be said about a contemporary film that has technology as its medial trope, and yet it doesn’t intend to come off as a mom asking you to put your phone down. Replacing the middle-aged central character who had to get his fumbling fingers used to the clickety clacks in “Searching,” the standalone sequel relegates the behemoth responsibility of locating a missing mother into the savvy hands of a Gen Z kid who can find her way through the maze of the world wide web faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Dropped in the midst of a humbling mystery that poses more questions every time an answer is located, June Allen’s otherwise idle screentime faces the test of transforming into an overwhelming investigation. “Missing” plays out like a staggering puzzle where no amount of predicting can get you in close proximity to the real terror that lies closer than you would expect.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Missing’ Film?

Thoughts of her deceased father creep up in June more often with Father’s Day nearing. She has been grumbling inside ever since her mother announced that she would be in Colombia with her new boyfriend, Kevin, on Father’s Day. What her mother, Grace, and her attorney/friend, Heather, see in Kevin is beyond June’s understanding. The screen that June spends most of her time staring at is cluttered with tabs that she would rather not lose. There’s a subtle synchronicity between June’s messy computer screen and a teenager’s messy room. And like its predecessor, ‘Searching,’ our window to the overwhelming narrative’s unraveling is the claustrophobic view of June through her computer’s webcam, which never seems to sleep. Planning a rager on a budget seems like a much better use of June’s time to her than sulking around stewing in her loneliness. Keeping her up to date with pictures of their trip is Kevin.

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The night before June is supposed to pick her mom up from the airport, the party at her place goes a bit too far and ends with her hurling and passing out. Having help available at the click of a key, June books a cleaning service using TaskRabbit and heads out to the airport. Waiting for hours with no sign of her mom worries June to no end. The first sensible course of action for June is to call her mother, and when that goes unanswered, June decides to look further ahead and gets in touch with the hotel where Kevin and Grace had been staying. The language barrier can’t be an impossible hurdle to overcome for someone who types faster on Google Translate than the man on the other end of the call can speak. Everything she gets to learn about her mother’s trip to Colombia confuses her even further.

June is yet to realize that the entire investigation will have her bound to the screen for much longer than she anticipates. Having found out that Grace and Kevin had left all of their luggage behind at the hotel isn’t comforting news for June. Looking at the picture of the hotel online, she notices the security camera that must have captured her mother’s movements. Retrieving the footage wouldn’t be easy, as she would need to be physically present to access it. She is told that the footage will overwrite itself at the end of 48 hours. With Heather’s assistance, June gets in touch with agent Park of the US Embassy in Colombia. The urgency that agent Park promises to June isn’t reflected in the actions of the police, who don’t seem all too eager to prioritize a missing woman’s case.

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How Does June Unearth Kevin’s Truth?

June is unwilling to waste crucial time, seeing as the cops are too slow to be of any real use. Looking through Go Ninja, June’s scanty bank account leaves her nothing but an inexpensive option. And that option is Javier, a man with a generous heart who, after learning of June’s predicament, agrees to go to the hotel to check out the security footage. Being unable to access it doesn’t stop Javier from following the trail that Kevin left behind. Accessing Kevin’s credit card purchases, June finds out that Kevin had bought a lock in Colombia. June manages to break into Kevin’s Google account and is faced with alarming discoveries that make her heart sink. She finds a racy picture sent by a woman to Kevin. For a while, June has been of the opinion that Kevin has been cheating on her mother. However, devastating that realization may be, what she finds next nearly makes her jump out of her skin. Multiple messages left by women calling him different names and asking him to give them back their money crowded Kevin’s inbox.

Working alongside June simultaneously, the police discover that Kevin is a swindler who has been known to wear many aliases and has been in and out of prison for quite a while. Nonetheless, the cops believe that Kevin’s behavior since he has been out on parole indicates a positive change in him. He hasn’t had a single instance of violating his parole; he has gotten himself a steady job, and he has even gotten sponsorship from a church. Keeping an eye on Kevin’s location on Google, June calls up a place that Kevin had been to and speaks to a man who identifies himself as Jimmy. Through Jimmy’s words, Kevin looks to be a changed man with a whole new perspective and a shocking amount of affection and respect for Grace. June is having a hard time relying on the words of a man who runs a re-entry program for ex-offenders at Holy Father Ministries. Yet every piece of information that June runs across seems to absolve Kevin of any possible crime. Looking through the tourist cam footage, June sees that Kevin had gotten down on one knee to propose to Grace right before the two were abducted by masked kidnappers. In light of the new developments, the investigation takes a rapid turn to figure out who kidnapped Kevin and Grace and why.

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Is Grace Hiding Something?

Nobody can really tell when the worst can get even worse. Not knowing if she would ever see her mom again is devastating enough for June. But when the investigation stops seeing Grace as a victim and the entire country starts wondering if Grace could have voluntarily gone AWOL, June feels the earth shift under her feet. Like Kevin, Grace is an alias June’s mother has taken up. While the internet gets busy drowning in theories that vilify Grace, June is steady in her resolve to look for her mother. There’s always a crack in even the most intricate schemes. The pictures that Kevin sent to June from their trip were live pictures. With just a click, June comes to know that the woman who sent a picture of herself to Kevin is the same woman who had been impersonating Grace on the trip. The woman in the pictures, namely Rachel, is an aspiring actress who moonlights as a bartender. June reaches out to the owner of the bar who lets her know that Rachel has stopped showing up and nobody has heard from her for a while.

When Rachel is arrested by cops, she explains what really went on, starting with boarding the flight and ending with the staged kidnapping. Kevin had hired her under the ruse of casting her in a reality TV show that would be shot on an iPhone. Believing Kevin to be someone with a unique vision, Rachel went along with it until the kidnapping sequence made her hair curl in fear, and she decided to bolt. Even the kidnappers that were seen in the footage were local men who’d agreed to play the part with the promise of appearing on TV. The Uber that was supposedly booked by Kevin for the trip to the airport was also not registered. Moreover, the car’s license plates were stolen. Kevin’s being shot to death during a police raid turns the trail cold for law enforcement.

Cracking a few more passcodes, June comes across an email sent to her mother by someone who was threatening to reveal her truth to the world. She tracks the email ID to Kevin’s inbox and learns of a security camera company that had installed a security system on the premises, which looks a bit too similar to the place where June and her parents stayed on their last trip as a family. She also comes to know of an end-to-end encrypted messaging app where Heather has been sending dicey texts to Kevin. Planning to record the incriminating interaction on her smartwatch, June walks over to Heather’s office only to find that she has been threatened by someone. What June could never expect to find in her office was Heather dead on the floor, killed minutes before June arrived.


‘Missing’ Ending Explained – Who Abducted Grace And June? Why Did Grace Change Her Identity?

“Missing” may have taken on the look of its prequel, but unlike “Searching,” the sequel strikes you as being a reenacted true crime docudrama. The perplexing labyrinth of the mystery that June finds herself stuck in has braided in way too many twists. But it is just about crazy enough to be believable without going overboard with the maze-like structure. June isn’t a superhero in any sense. And this isn’t me throwing shade at someone who has shown tremendous capability in untangling a puzzling trail, especially while dealing with the fear of losing the one parent she still has to herself. “Missing” has allowed June’s personal investigation to go only as far as it can maintain its legitimacy. When she’s recovered from the traumatic sight of seeing Heather’s cold body, June truly can’t make heads or tails of who could’ve killed her. She is taken aback to receive a call from Jimmy and is terrified to find him knocking on her door. She opens the door to see a ghost from her past. Jimmy is James, June’s father, who is anything but dead. Clarifying the bewildering turn of events for June, James accuses Grace of stealing his daughter away from him. If June is to believe her father, she also has to wrap her head around the awfulness of her mother, which she is just getting to know of.

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According to James, Grace had gotten him wrongfully imprisoned and had moved away with a new identity. James truly underestimates just how quick June is when he mentions the name of the prison that he has been locked up in for the last 12 years. Connecting the dots, June denounces his lies and tells him that he has been in cahoots with Kevin, his prison mate. But before she can run off, James overpowers her, drags her to his car, and drives her to the place where he has been holding Grace hostage. A mother, especially one who is close to losing all hope of ever seeing her daughter again, senses that something has changed. Grace musters up enough strength to floor James and rushes out to her daughter’s rescue. Delirious about his actions, James walks out with a shovel, probably to dig a grave he hopes to use soon. June takes this opportunity to use her smartwatch and call Javier for help. Letting go of the harsh feelings of the dispute they had when June told him off for being a bad father, Javier fights tooth and nail to assist June in her time of grave need. But the connection is severed just as James walks back into the room. He cocks his gun, points it at Grace, and ends up shooting her in the stomach. With Grace profusely bleeding out on the ground, June attempts to make a run for it but is quickly overpowered by James.

If there’s anything Grace’s willpower can get her critical physical strength to do, it’s protecting her daughter at any cost. She drags herself up and puts a shard of glass through James’ neck. The universe’s amusing irony sees James take his last breath and his head thud over the keyboard just as he is about to call for medical assistance. June takes a page from her mother’s old-timey handbook and uses Siri’s voice command from the camera all the way across to her own room and calls 911. The mother and daughter are rescued safely by the cops. Mindful of all that her mother has fought through to keep her safe, June has come closer to Grace. The opening sequence of “Missing” showed us a clip from June’s childhood being trimmed short. What we assumed was Grace’s attempt at guarding little June from the grief of her father’s untimely death was, in truth, a mother’s decision to safeguard a daughter from knowing that her father was an abusive drug addict. Grace was severely abused and traumatized by James, who time and again let his demons get the better of him.

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To save herself and her daughter from going down the harrowing road of being crushed by an abuser’s whims, Grace had taken June away to a safe spot. From there, she contacted James, who was using textbook abuser jibes to intimidate Grace into coming back and, unbeknownst to him, admitting to crimes that would soon land him in prison. Heather came into Grace’s life as a beam of hope and a savior when she didn’t know how to keep herself or her daughter safe. With Heather’s help, Grace erased every trace of her life, bid goodbye to everyone she knew, and took up a new identity to start a new life with her daughter, Junebug. By the time the overwhelming mystery lets up, “Missing” looks to be a hard-hitting tale of the terror that lives close to home. It is also, at the end of it all, a candid celebration of all the lionhearted women who break out of the claws of abuse and sacrifice a great deal to get a chance at living a life where someone isn’t actively holding them back.


Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjeehttps://muckrack.com/lopamudra-mukherjee
Lopamudra nerds out about baking whenever she’s not busy looking for new additions to the horror genre. Nothing makes her happier than finding a long-running show with characters that embrace her as their own. Writing has become the perfect mode of communicating all that she feels for the loving world of motion pictures.

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