Directed by Nick Cassavetes, and based on the national best selling novel by acclaimed author, Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper tackles the nature of the human condition, the unconditional loyalty of family, and the vitality of free will. Starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassiliveva, and Alec Baldwin – this ensemble cast will blow you away.
Let’s take a deeper look at the film…
When Sara Fitzgerald (Diaz) discovers her five year old daughter, Kate (Vassilieva), is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, medical options are limited. Kate’s struggle to survive became the sole priority of the Fitzgerald family, ultimately inspiring the genetically contrived conception of their youngest daughter, Anna (Breslin). After eleven years of having her genetically matched parts donated to her sister through countless medical procedures, Anna is on a mission to seek medical emancipation from her parents. She hires a lawyer (Baldwin), and decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. The sacrifice? Kate’s life.
- “Awww” Moments: The commentary on the power of family is almost overwhelming in this film. Justified or not, the emotional investment the Fitzgerald’s have in each other is moving. I sent a mass “Ahhhhhh I love you” text-message to my entire family the second I walked out of the theatre. Try not to vomit.
- Performances: The Oscar-nominated Abigail Breslin offers another deeply impressive, seemingly effortless performance. The emotional range of this seasoned 12-year old is truly unparalleled by any actress well within her age group. The audience really feels for Anna – we’re dying to understand her, because the conflict she’s presented with is so outrageously taxing for anyone, let alone a child.
- Honesty: While Cameron Diaz is no stranger to over-acting, she has some surprising moments of honesty. You believe in her character’s strength of conviction – she’s consumed by her own unrelenting drive to save Kate’s life, and the level of commitment is absolutely apparent to the audience.
- Better Read and Not Seen: There are definitely stories that were meant to be read and NOT seen. My Sister’s Keeper is a prime example. Picoult is noted for her intricate story-lines and her pervasively explored characters. Her ability to present the complex issues featured in her story with an impartial, unbiased resonance is both refreshing and impressive .BUT, it’s far too much to accurately translate into screenplay structure and still do the nature of the story justice. We only have two hours, and this is a heavily emotional story. Your eyes are glazed with tears from the opening voice over until the credits roll. Talk about being maxed OUT.
- Script: While the film and the novel end differently, Jeremy Leven’s (screenwriter) overall commitment to try and parallel Picoult’s novel ultimately did the film a disservice. The uplifting, redeeming qualities of Picoult’s novel (that an audience craves) simply would not fit into Leven’s script without eliminating a fraction of the dramatic, pivotal turning points in the story. And, please, what is a Cassavetes film without the plethora of melodramatic moments?
While I have faith in the essence of this story, the film on the whole fell short of expectations. If you’re a fan of the book, I strongly suggest you avoid the theatre – but if you need a good cry, spend the ten bucks!