||My Sister's Keeper
Movie Details: View Here
Over 15-Minutes of Powerful Additional Scenes.
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time: 110 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
What keeps a family together? Nick Cassavetes, the director of The Notebook and John Q, again demonstrates his sure hand with tales of deep human emotion in this inspiring film about a loving family challenged - and united - by a child's illness. Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin and others in an exceptional cast bring sensitivity to the story of 11-year-old Anna Fitzgerald, conceived to be a donor for her leukemia-stricken sister, and who finally demands the right to control her own body. This act of free will may tear the Fitzgeralds apart. Or it may be the first step to a triumphant realization of devotion, dignity and what it means to be a family.
Based on a novel by Jodi Picoult, "My Sister's Keeper" wears its tear-jerking intentions on its sleeve, and if you saw a trailer or a synopsis, you know you're in for some sadness. And what a weird sell this had to be-Cameron Diaz, Little Miss Sunshine, and the daughter from "Medium" in a drama about cancer. Dying teens. Plus, let's release it around the same time as the new "Transformers" movie. Much of this sounds like a bad idea, but it's actually handled surprisingly well, and despite some inevitable moments of maudlin mortality, a good, solid movie manages to emerge.
Early on, we learn that 11-year-old Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) was born as a means to save her sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) from leukemia with her umbilical cord blood. Transfusions, transplants, and surgeries have followed, and now, Anna's finally decided that even though she loves her sister, she's tired of being a human guinea pig. Wanting to be in control of her own body and future, Anna sues her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) for medical emancipation, and as the family comes to grips with the implications of what that means, they also begin to figure out their own roles in a world that has been focused on Kate's survival for over a decade.
I was a sick kid, and I know the whole hospital scene. I know the Mama Lion that Cameron Diaz is, fighting everyone at all costs for her child. I know the strange social circle of the sick kid ward. So, given all that, maybe I'm biased-but much of this film that some would call too cheesy or too sad actually rang true. Cancer and other major illness is just plain old inherently sad, so you go in to this film knowing that heartstrings will be plucked. What it does best is keep the sap to a minimum, and we waffle back and forth with ethical issues of which life is more important and who has the right to decide who lives. Sure, there are over-the-top scenes and the occasional lapse into melodrama, but then there are subtle moments, like when Kate's boyfriend helps her puke in a pan after chemo, that ground everything in a realism that's usually lost in sick kid flicks. All the performances are excellent (Diaz somehow gets us to root for her and against her at the same time), but as the dying Kate, Vassilieva taps into the dual role of patient and fighter while never going too "cancer warrior crazy brave," a difficult balance that she carries off next to a cast of seasoned actors. There's no giant miracle or anything, and some storylines, like Kate's almost forgotten brother Jessie, could've been more thoroughly explored (though maybe that just serves to highlight his role in the family), but on the strength of Vassilieva's performance alone, this is a little seen release to make room for on your rental list.
The only Special Features on the DVD are a series of Deleted Scenes that add up to a little more than 16 minutes of screen time (and some Trailers, but those don't count). They don't really change much, but they're nice to see in the context of the movie. There could've been more put in to the Extras, though, like maybe something about Jodi Picoult's novel, and it's not really enough of a package to warrant a purchase unless you just really love the film.
Better than your average cancer movie, performances elevate this Kleenex-User film to a quietly moving drama with no easy answers.