Movie Review - My Sister's Keeper

This movie will have you bawling your eyes out (I did anyway). It was based on the book My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It is about a family with a sick child. Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) is diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of five. So her parents Sarah (Cameron Diaz) and Brian Fitzgerald (Jason Patric) decide to have another baby. But this baby is manufactured in a test tube to be an exact match to Kate. This way the new baby (Anna, played by Abigail Breslin) can be a donor to Kate for bone marrow, blood and eventually a kidney. By the time she is 11 Anna has been in the hospital many times undergo procedures which are designed to help Kate. But when Kate needs a new kidney, Anna has had enough. With the help of her brother Jesse (Evan Ellingson) she starts a lawsuit against her parents, asking the support of lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin). Together they are trying to get medical emancipation from her parents, control over her own body.

The story is very sad, and the movie plays into that. Certain scenes are especially designed to make the viewer cry. With me that worked on more than one occasion. But the movie also shows that despite living with this horrible disease, the family is still capable of having a laugh every now and then. We see the story from several different perspectives. Every family member gets a chance the be the narrator at some point, telling us how they feel about everything. But mostly the story is told from Kate and Anna’s perspectives. They describe the family dynamics and how Kate’s illness takes its toll on all of them and slowly breaks the family apart. There is not enough attention for brother Jesse, when he needs it, and Anna is used as a fix-up for Kate. The movie plays out around the lawsuit, but as every family member gets their turn to tell the story, we see flashbacks of how it all began and of the past 10 years dealing with Kate’s illness.

Abigail Breslin is sweet and endearing as Anna. She is a very young actress but she does a great job. She has the right amount of innocence to convince she is just a young girl who is scared of donating a kidney, and worried she won’t be able to play soccer, not fully realising this will mean her sister will die. But as the movie continues the viewer slowly realises Anna knows exactly what she is doing. Sofia Vassilieva is also quite impressive as the very ill Kate. She walks the fine line between self pity and courage to carry on and face her life. I especially liked her small love story.

Cameron Diaz is great as the mom, although she does not always come off as very sympathetic. Who knew she could play anything other than comedies. But this venture she made into drama paid off, and I’m looking forward to her next serious role.

My Sister’s Keeper is a bit of a women’s film or chick flick. Very emotional and all about family bonds. It does stand out from the usual family drama’s though and is definitely worth watching. So go find that box of tissues, get some chocolates ready, and go get the DVD now!

My Sister's Keeper trailer

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