Running Time:1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: January 22nd, 2010 (wide)
Distributors: CBS Films
Directed by: Tom Vaughan
JJ Rating: B+
Pompe Disease is something two of John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell) Crowley’s three children have. It is a disease that is debilitating and children normally do not live passed 9 years old. With Megan’s (Meredith Droeger) 8th birthday passing John pushes to get into contact with Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Dr. Stonehill has research that is very promising and soon together him and John work towards a “cure”. Extraordinary Measures.
I think it’s difficult to for most critics to have a tinge of a heart. It seems to me that the good rated movies are either cynical, dark and funny or overly dramatic, small hearted and negative. I look at Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings and when a film is an up-lifting film it doesn’t seem to be able to crack the 85% - 100% area, unless, of course, it’s animated. What makes critics (though it could be within the word itself) so cranky? By no means is Extraordinary Measures a perfect film or even a great film, but it is a good film for the subject matter it is dealing with.
I have seen Keri Russell shine before, so her role as wife was a bit subdued in comparison. She does a good job, however. It is Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford that have been having a difficult film career with powerful performances and I believe that they both have such
performances here. Ford does a great job being a cranky old doctor without reminding me of Dr. House. Fraser does a great job of being the determined father who tries so hard to get what he needs to save his kids. It would be wrong to focus on any flaw that the film has and ignore their part in creating a good movie. Also Meredith Droeger does a great job portraying a child that is really sick with a relatively unknown disease.
Extraordinary Measures will bring to light Pompe Disease and people will start to research it (as movies can motivate) and maybe more can be done for the families and the children that have it. I had never known of this disease existence and now I do. So instead of looking at a child in a wheelchair and wondering why are they in it, I’ll be able to maybe come up with a reason and not feel overly sorry for them. I think the film did a great job of showing that even though they are, for the most part, immobile they can still have fun and be fun and above all love. Though I do not necessarily think that people who have sicknesses are unfun or someone to be pitied, but it’s good to be reminded that they are human and they have feelings. Just like it’s good to be reminded that in death someone lost a loved one. Statistics are rattled off on the news about how many have died in a bombing or earthquake and it’s shocking but what tends to be forgotten is that someone lost a family member or a friend. It would be a terrible day in human history for no one to feel sadness for someone else’s loss no matter if, to us, it’s just a name or a number. Even though it is just a movie, it is also someone’s perception, someone’s view, someone’s life that is being shown in some way. It’s a different look at situation that one might not have thought of previously. The reason I like movies is for the entertainment as well as the different perspective that I have either forgotten about or have never thought of. That is one of the main reasons why I like Extraordinary Measures, it points out something I did not know in a way that entertained me and moved me.
If I am not mistaken it was stated that couples with children with Pompe have a high rate of divorce. That is another reason I like it because of the strong sense of family from the parents to the lone child who does not have the disease. It is based on a true story so maybe that child had issues with not getting as much attention, but maybe the parents handled it well enough that he didn’t act out. In the film he is so supportive and hopefully that is how it really was because that’s so rare and I liked seeing it.
I do not know what I would do if I had a child like that or like any one’s child who is difficult to raise than what is considered normal. I see films like this and I think that these people have so much strength and endurance. It is inspirational to see. They show the true power of love. Something that most of the world seems to have lost.
Extraordinary Measures is not as emotional as some films that deal with similar situations are. It makes the story the focal point and allows the emotions to color the situation but not to control it. I believe it to be informative, motivational and inspirational. See it, feel it and try really hard not to care. Don’t allow your heart to become cocooned in cynicism. Sometimes it just needs to feel.