I know what you’re thinking. ANOTHER depressing movie about dying children… but stay with me for a few minutes, this one has a little more to offer than just man-made tears. I normally skip out on films like these because I hate being manipulated by a filmmaker who thinks making you cry means they’re doing something meaningful. This is NOT that kind of movie. Extraordinary Measures is a smart film that doesn’t go for the easy tears or the over dramatic violins. It presents you with an unfortunate situation and tells you a story about a family who fights tooth and nail to make the impossible a reality.

The Players:

  • Director: Tom Vaughan
  • Screenwriters: Robert Nelson Jacobs, Geeta Anand (book)
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, Meredith Droeger, Diego Velazquez, Sam Hall, Jared Harris, Alan Ruck, Courtney B. Vance
  • Cinematography: Andrew Dunn
  • Music: Andrea Guerra

The Plot:

Extraordinary Measures tells the true story of John and Aileen Crowley, a couple whose two children are struck with a rare genetic disease. John (Brendan Fraser) teams up with a reluctant researcher named Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) to create a cure that can save not only his kids but all the other victims dealing with the condition. In a race against time, they work together day and night pooling their resources to find the key elements to uncovering a cure.

The Good:

  • The Representation of the Disease: With a family that’s dealing with an illness like Pompe Disease, it’s easy to focus on the negative. But when you meet the characters all you see is a normal family dealing with what’s in front of them. If it weren’t for the wheel chairs and breathing tubes that the children were attached to, you would never know anything was “wrong” with them.
  • The Choices: There were a number of times during the film when the director gave you the information and let you decide for yourself what was going on. It’s not hard to see the struggle in this movie, but it’s rarely ever shown, it’s left open for you to interpret.
  • The Music: With a movie that deals with such a dramatic issue, they didn’t play up any of the scenes that could have pushed it over the top. Much like the rest of the film, the music was straightforward and well done.
  • The Acting: I feel like Harrison Ford gets type-cast as the “big budget action guy” (because he’s played so many iconic action hero roles) and is rarely ever given the chance to do anything else. Although his character does draw similarities to past persona’s, it’s nice to see him doing something so dramatic and performance focused. Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, and Meredith Droeger also all give solid performances.

The Bad:

  • Subject Matter: Although they deal with it extremely well, it’s not an easy subject to take on. It doesn’t have a broad appeal that makes it easy for audiences to want to see or hear about the story.


This is a solid dramatic film that is well worth the time and money and although it may draw some tears, it will do so for the right reasons.

Rating: 7.75/10

Extraordinary Measures will be in theaters January 22nd



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