It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Five years after the arrival of her adopted daughter, Alicia finds herself asking some questions. Where, exactly, did the little girl come from? Was she indeed obtained through the normal adoption channels in Argentina, as her husband insists, or was she stolen from a mother who was a political prisoner? Is the real mother still alive? Is it moral for her to ignore those questions, just because she loves her adopted daughter so much?
These are the heartbreaking dilemmas of "The Official Story," a film that deals with the turmoil in Argentina through the story of a single family. Alicia is married to Roberto, a wealthy, powerful man with connections in industry and government. Her life centers around their adopted daughter. She is vaguely aware of some of the unhappy realities of recent Argentinean politics - the roundups of leftists and opponents of the government, who became "missing persons" and were presumably killed in a secret holocaust. But until Ana, an old high school friend, reenters her life, Alicia does not understand how those events might affect her.
At first Ana does not want to talk about the experiences she has been through. But then she begins to reopen her wounds. She tells Alicia that her lover was a leftist opponent of the government. After her lover disappeared, Ana was taken captive by the government and tortured for information about his whereabouts. She could tell them nothing. Eventually, she was released.
Ana's story makes Alicia uncomfortable. She tells her husband about it, but he dismisses it as rumor and invention. Alicia begins to realize that her husband may be part of the repressive establishment. One day, walking downtown, she comes across a demonstration by family members of the missing. She hears stories that some of the prisoners were pregnant, and that their children were taken away at birth. Could that be the story of her own daughter? In one of the most powerful scenes in the movie, she takes down the clothing her daughter came dressed in, and touches it gently, and we can read her mind: She is thinking that her daughter's natural mother was the person who put these clothes on the baby girl.