“My Sister’s Keeper” There will be Tears

Genres: Drama and Adaptation
Running Time:
1 hr. 46 min.
Release Date:
June 26th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language and brief teen drinking.
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Directed by:
Nick Cassavetes

JJ Rating: A-

Kate Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva) has cancer and she’s dying. Her younger sister, Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin), was created so that she could help her sister get better. In harsher terms, her parents were using her to harvest whatever it was that Kate needed to get better. Now she doesn’t want to do it any more and she got a lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) to help her be medically emancipated. My Sister’s Keeper.

There will be tears and those that will cry are: women, those that have a loved one with cancer and those that have recently lost a loved one. Those that will not cry are those who are cynical and have hearts of stone. It does matter the mindset when one sees a movie like this. If you are not up for a movie like this or you were dragged then it’ll be melodramatic and you’ll be bored.

I read up on how the book differs and apparently the biggest difference is the ending. I could understand the upset, but the only reason I could think of that would explain why they would change it was to make it less sad and to avoid religious context. Am I right? I don’t know. I can only speculate like a good speculator.

Cameron Diaz (who played Sara Fitzgerald – the mother) did a good job as an obnoxiously, over protective mom. I really did not like her in many parts of the film, but at the same time I could understand her need to be the way she was. Diaz just had such depth to her character that I was pleasantly surprised. Jason Patric (who played Brian Fitzgerald - the father) was powerful when he did not say a word and his eyes giving the illusion of wobbling as tears just shimmer. Dynamic dramatic energy came through his eyes and penetrated any father’s heart.

Abigail Breslin is growing up and has not lost that edge to her that she showed everyone in Little Miss Sunshine. She made sure that her character would not be left in the dust by anyone of the veteran actors in this film. Evan Ellingson (Jesse Fitzgerald the brother) showed a range of emotions without having a whole lot of screen time. He did not get lost in the shuffle and maintained the high levels of emotion that the other actors were giving. Sofia Vassilieva has such a beautiful smile that made her acting that much more sincere. She made sure that Kate was who she was and no one saw any differently when they watched her. I didn’t think of it as acting when she was on the screen. She was very moving and powerful. Thomas Dekker is the love interest of Kate Fitzgerald. He plays Taylor. He may look familiar because he played in the first season of NBC’s “Heroes” as Claire’s good friend who filmed her jumping and harming/healing herself. He looks so different as well as having a bit of a rough edge to his acting more than one would be use to if the last thing they saw was him in “Heroes”. He showed that he could be a dominating presence just by appearance as well as how he handled his character. Their relationship is beautiful.

Alec Baldwin was good. His exchange with Diaz in the court room was a good scene. The emotion that charged the both of them made the arguments stand out and made one think about who was more right in this situation. Joan Cusack (who I really love) played the judge and when she talks to Breslin in her chambers and Breslin mentions something the emotional shift is so subtle and powerful in Cusack’s face that it’s really hard to think about without becoming upset.

Now it’s not drama moment after drama moment after drama moment. There are fun and silly and funny moments that happen. And when those moments occur they break up the dramatic tense moments. I think My Sister’s Keeper is very good with the emotional pull it has and the way it tells a story that, as I’ve heard, comes from a book that hails from different points of view. It does so without causing confusion in the storyline. The story also jumps to the past without a block of text dictating that it’s now the past. I think that that would only be frustrating (ie. The Soloist) if it did so jarringly. The transition from one person’s story to another’s as well as different time periods is handled smoothly and enjoyably.

My Sister’s Keeper performs for your tears and if you are in the right mindset you will relinquish them. There will not just be a small trickle, it could be a faucet of tears and snot if you are not careful. Not only that, but there will be memories that will flood your mind or take you to the future at some event you think will happen in your life. It’ll shake you. By the time this movie is over you will feel as if you lost someone, and then wonder why this kind of drama would be labeled entertainment. There will be tears.

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