Movie Review: “My Sisters Keeper”


First Posted: 7/25/2009

The economy is in shambles. Folks are losing their homes to foreclosure. People are either losing their jobs or cant find one. The whole world is laughing at us, I cant fit into last summers clothes, and old Tom Watson nearly broke our hearts at the British Open. For crying out loud and I mean that literally do we really need another reason to cry?
Apparently.
And if, after all of this, you have any optimism left, Jodi Picoults 2004 novel entitled My Sisters Keeper will take your little ball of hope and squash it and stomp on it and dig a pit in the back yard and bury it. Or something like that.
Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) is an 11-year-old petri-dish kid. What? Yep. She was conceived by her parents in-vitro with the sole purpose of providing bone marrow, blood and spare body parts for her older sister, Kate, who was diagnosed with leukemia. Beginning as an infant, Anna was probed and pinched and hospitalized for her bodily contributions. She was held down by her parents and nurses while foot-long needles were piercing her bones. Kates cancer roared out of remission, and now it was time to harvest Annas kidney.
Anna, now old enough to understand her role in life, refuses the operation.
Im important, too! she tearfully tells her parents. But her mother, Sara (Cameron Diaz), calls her selfish.
Why are you doing this? Why wont you help your sister? Without the genetically matched kidney, Kate will die a quicker death.
Anna solicits the help of attorney Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) to sue her parents for medical emancipation. For the freedom to choose what happens to her body. For quality of life.
But before we curse and crucify Sara for her insensitivity to Anna, director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) does a good job of letting us see her side of this twisted story. Sara was a successful lawyer who gave up her life to care day and night for her sick child. She is a savage fighter wholl do anything, like most good mothers, for the welfare of her child.
She wasnt going to give up on Kate like the doctors had, and when one suggested that Kates only hope for life was to have a genetically matched donor, Sara was willing to do whatever it took to save her daughters life. Would you or I do what Sara did? We say not, but nor have most of us ever had to deal with something so dismally traumatic. So are we really qualified to make that judgment when we have not worn those shoes?
Well, here I go again. And I thought I left all the tears in the theater. Ill need just a moment, please.
Tip: Buy stock in Kleenex while this movie is on the screen.
Anyway, Kate (played beautifully by Sofia Vassilieva) loves her little sister and appreciates her, and is remorseful about stealing the attention from her siblings. Annas contributions have enabled Kate to experience parts of life that otherwise she would have never lived to experience, like love. Kate meets Taylor (Thomas Dekker), another cancer victim, and they share a first love that could have been a book within itself. Kate learns about family its strength and its weaknesses and gets to experience the love that sisters and siblings were meant to feel.
Oh boy. Here I go again. Just a second …
My Sisters Keeper is a tutorial on great acting. The best in the film, in my opinion, is Joan Cusack playing Judge De Salvo. De Salvo has just lost a child of her own, and after returning to the bench after taking a year off to mourn, is hit with Annas case. If you see this movie, just watch Cusacks face. Watch her eyes. Every scene, every corner of the screen is filled with her expertise as an actress. She is absolutely phenomenal. Breslin is also convincing in her role, and is neck-in-neck with Dakota Fanning as an A-list child actress.
Jason Patric is great as Brian, Annas father, and even overused Alec Baldwin brings something to the table in this one. Surprisingly, Cameron Diaz did an excellent job as well. I think she finally realized that shes reached the mom age.
Well, I think you know by now that this film is a tear-jerker. Seriously, do not enter the theater without ample tissues. Youll need it in the first five minutes. Gals, dont bring a hot date to this one your make-up will be dripping to your knees, and red, swollen eyes are seldom attractive.
Fellas you know what to do. Feign illness, do some yard work, fix that toilet that shes been asking you to fix. If you dont want anyone to see you cry, do whatever it takes to stay away from this one. (My husband recommends the Ill watch the kids and cook supper tactic which I, for one, will never turn down.)
Or those who do opt to see this, youll be on your mental knees by nightfall thanking You-Know-Who for your blessings. In fact, youll probably start on the way home.
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language and brief teen drinking, and running at 1 hour 49 minutes, My Sisters Keeper will rip you in half. And if it doesnt, youre mean and empty inside. It gets 4 boxes of tissue, I mean bags of popcorn.

comments powered by Disqus