My Sister’s Keeper
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Producer: Diana Pokomy, Mendel Tropper
Screenwriters: Jeremy Levin, Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Patrick, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack
Running Time: 109 minutes
Those who loved the book by Jodi Picoult will be dismayed by the change to the ending. If you haven’t read the book, the film stands well as is. Definitely a tearjerker, so bring the tissues.
Anna Fitzgerald was conceived in a test tube and brought into the world to be the life support system for her older sister Kate who has struggled with cancer since she was a toddler. Initially needing the cord blood to help Kate, the Fitzgeralds decided to have a biologically matched baby to help their older daughter. Only it wasn’t enough.
Years and many procedures later, Kate is still sick, possibly dying. Anna’s kidney could be what will save her. Or will it? Anna is done being spare parts for Kate. In spite of her deep love for her sister, she decides to hire a lawyer and sue her parents for her medical emancipation. This is where the viewers enter the story.
Told in turns by each of the family members, we see the stress Kate’s condition causes the family. They try to live a normal life but everything is tainted by how it affects Kate. Through flashbacks, we see the toll it has taken on every one.
Cameron Diaz portrays the mother, Sara Fitzgerald, in a strong, determined way. She will do anything to protect her child but somehow manages to overlook the cost to other daughter. This is A Cameron we’ve not seen before. She unveils some decent acting chops in this role.
The actresses playing Kate and Anna are brilliant. The viewer never doubts their love and devotion to each other while trying to understand their choices. Sofia Vassilieva as Kate has some of the toughest scenes in the movie, going from healthy and glowing to deathly ill, from a giddy, in-love teenager, to mourning the loss of a friend. The way she portrays Anna’s depth of understanding of her illness and the devastation it is wreaking on her family is enormous.
Director Nick Cassavetes, who also directed the tear jerker The Notebook, takes some chances with fans of the book by changing the ending but he still presents a unique film that makes the viewer question themselves. What would I do if I was in the same situation? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
Watch for an Oscar nomination or two for this one.