Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Sisters Keeper Is More Than A Tear Jerker

Every year Hollywood makes so many movies that are not worth the effort to watch, so when they make one that is not only well crafted but touching, amusing and a generally moving picture, it is almost a pleasure to watch. Such is the case with "My Sister's Keeper" an emotionally charged family drama that will have you crying and laughing. Yes laughing, and done in a tasteful way.

Sara Fitzgerald (Cameron Diaz ) has one focus in life and that is saving her daughter Kate, (Sofia Vassilieva) no matter what, even sometimes going to such extremes that she neglects her other children. Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) was conceived to be a donor child for Kate. and Jessie Fitzgerald (Evan Ellingson) the eldest child who is basically ignored and left to fend for himself. Brian Fitzgerald (Jason Patrick) is the type of husband who has little say as to what goes on around him, he is forced to sit back and just say yes to every one of Sara's whims. He is a Los Angeles fire man and is well respected on the job, but at home he just follows Sara's every wish, even if it means jeopardizing young Anna's safety.

Anna has been forced to endure excruciatingly painful procedures, at risk to her own life and future, in the hopes that she can help cure Kate. As the day for a major operation gets closer Anna decides she can no longer just allow her family to use her body as nothing more than a recycling bin for organs. Anna wants to be able to live a normal life, one she knows she won't have if she continues to give up her organs. So knowing that her family is not ready to just hear her out, Anna hires herself an attorney. Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) knows whats it is like to not be in control of your own body, he has his own ailment and agrees to take Anna's case for her.

Anna's day in court comes, Judge De Salvo (Joan Cusack) has lost a child of her own and is just returning to the court room herself, this case is an emotional one for her as well. Anna has to endure the emotions her decision has on her family in solitude, only Aunt Kelly (Heather Wahlquist ) completely understands what is going on. The movie is told with flashbacks that help us to understand the toll Cancer has, we also are allowed to catch glimpses of the moments in her life that helped Kate feel like a normal kid. We see as she meets and falls in love with Taylor Ambrose (Thomas Dekkar) and the emotions she feels when he dies. We can also see her heartbreak as she sits back and watches through a veil of tears as her family falls apart. The heartbreak isn't just about her own mortality, but for the frustration of those trying to fight for her life.

The movie is an emotional tearjerker from beginning to end, we can clearly see how the movie will end, but yet are still drawn in, the emotional drain that cancer has on a family is tremendous and the effects it has on the victim is at times heartbreaking and draining. Director Nick Cassavetes shows a nice touch in easing the emotionally draining moments with subtle comic relief, this helps stave off some of the tears. Two scenes will stay with you, the laughter the family shares after Sara shaves of her own hair because Kate feels ugly, the family visits one of those photography booths we all try to avoid, and the scene with the family spending one last day together at the beach.

I give My Sister's Keeper a 4 and on my avoidance scale a 0, I recommend this movie with all my heart, yes it is a movie that will have an emotional toll on you, but if you know someone who has had to endure the life changes that Cancer brings this movie is a wonderful tribute to the survivors of this terrible disease. The movie has just the right comedic touch to leave you feeling somewhat uplifted as well, this movie won't disappoint you, it may just surprise you at how wonderful some of today's younger actors really are.

My Sister's Keeper is rated PG-13 for Mature Thematic Content, some Disturbing Images, Sensuality, Language and Brief Teen Drinking
Running time is 1 hr. 46 mins.

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