Thursday, 5 November 2009

My Sister's Keeper: Movie Review

My Sister's Keeper: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, Jason Patric, Alec Baldwin, Thomas Dekker
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Take the tissues.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult, this is the tale of Kate and her dysfunctional family, the Fitzgeralds.
They're as dysfunctional as any normal family - except for two differences: Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) has leukaemia and her sister Anna (Breslin) has been created for the sole purpose of donating organs/ blood/ cells to help get her through the treatment.
Only there are two problems with this - one, Kate's getting sicker and two, her sister Anna's gone to a lawyer to seek medical emancipation so she can live her life and not always endure painful operations for Kate.
With that in mind, the scene is set for a showdown, heartbreak and plenty of tears - as well as a sprinkling of flashbacks to life before the illness.
My Sister's Keeper is what you'd expect - it's emotionally manipulative in parts (right down to the slow motion backed with piano music and power ballads) and will be guaranteed to move even the most hard hearted of cinemagoers to succumb to tears.
However, while there is severe over milking of the emotional issues at stake - a family torn apart trying to do the right thing, a dying young girl wanting her family to heal and a couple of moments - and dialogue - designed purely to pull at the heartstrings, what will surprise you is the unshowy performances of the ensemble cast.
Sofia Vassilieva doesn't make Kate mawkish and sad sack - she brings a quiet dignity to the dying girl who has realized her time is up; likewise Abigail Breslin does well as the sister grown purely to help her sister and failing to do so; Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric play admirable roles in making the suffering parents whose lives have been dragged through the wringer a reality; and Thomas Dekker's fellow sufferer shows a depth of subtlety hinted at during TV2's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

My Sister's Keeper won't win any prizes for originality and there are a few cloying plot holes (how can a mother who's a lawyer be involved in the case of her daughter without it being a conflict of interest is just one), and perhaps the sentimentality has been heaped on a little too much. But what it does do is show the importance of family at times of crisis and how devastating a disease cancer continues to be during and after life.

If you're in the mood for having your heart strings pulled and want an emotional release which will see you crying buckets, then My Sister's Keeper strays on just the right side of sentimental mawkishness - thanks to the performances of its cast, you'll be heading out into the foyer sniffing and holding on tightly to the one you love.

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