My Sister's Keeper Reviews
I felt the movie's ending was terrible and so predictable.
Director Nick Cassevetes once again teams up with screen writer Jeremy Leaven (both from 2004's Notebook). Aiding and abetting Cassevetes incessant need to forcibly pull on every heartstring. The overly sentimental score refuses to let the material speak for itself and denies audiences the ability to emote their own thoughts.
The films promising start to the challenging and sensitive subject behind the ethics of genetic breading, unlike the book, loses the courage if its convictions and assumes a much more conventional form. To say that it does not conjure emotion would be a lie, however at some points the emotions it produces seams engineered.
"MOST babies are accidents. Not me. I was engineered. Born to save my sister's life." Anna (Abigail Breslin) is a precociously self-aware 11 year-old whom is only too conscious to the motives behind her birth.
Anna's philosophical take that she was purely conceived by means of in vitro fertilization to be a living donor to her 13 year old leukemia stricken sister Kate (beautifully acted by Sofia Vassileva from Tv's Medium), she simply states I was "Made in a dish to be spare parts".
From her unorthodox idea of conception, desperate parents Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patric) genetically engineered second daughter was forced to undergo endless surgery, transfusions and extractions in the unappreciated task to save her sister.
When Kate unexpectedly relapses and goes into renal failure and Anna is once again called upon to provide. However, when Anna speaks out to her life fighting obsessive mother with a clear voice of her own and is completely disregarded, Anna decides she no longer wishes to continue her noble pursuit as her sister's savior.
Secretly Anna prepares to sue her parents to the rights to her own body, seeking out the services of cheesy, publicity-loving lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alex Baldwin) who agrees to work pro-bono filing for partial termination of parental rights and medical emancipation.
Enraged by being served, Sara jumps into a natural motherly battle mode but instead of accepting Anna's choices she utilizes her pervious occupation as a lawyer and mounts a spirited defense to sue her own daughter to get what she needs.
The family becomes consumed by the battle, whilst Anna must stand alone against her own mother, Kate must fight to stay alive. Audiences become torn between anger against Sara, understanding towards Anna and compassion for Kate.
The simply poignant and confronting modern premise plucks even the most unyielding of cynic's heartstrings. However the haphazard non-chronological flashbacks squander the films natural momentum and the sidestepping a key element to the novel's tragedy leaves you feeling slightly cheated.
The strong ensemble supporting cast of Evan Ellingson (as Jesse the forgotten older brother), Joan Cusack (as the bereaved Judge De Salvo) and Thomas Dekker (as Kate's also cancer-ridden boyfriend Taylor Ambrose) is simply wonderful and along with leads Breslin and Vassileva easily carries most of the films shortcomings.
In a bid to make a transition from her customary throw away romantic comedy roles into serious drama, Cameron Diaz strips away the movie-star glamour removing makeup and suitably looks like a strung out mum. Sadly, however she struggles with her lack of true acting ability and Cassevetes attempt to stunt cast is viably flawed.
The authentic grittiness interlaced with bright hope gives evenness to the screen time preventing the movies from falling into the midday movie melodramatic Meryl Streep dramas. Audiences are easily related to the battle with a terminal illness and will empathizes easily with at least one character.
The Verdict: The directors hot-topic dithering and occasional sub-plot diversion deliver an irreversibly lukewarm adaptation, nonetheless the first class acting (for the most part) moral and ethical issues and touching story makes this a worthwhile and teary experience.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 14/08/2009
Beautifully acted especially Joan Cusack. As a mother I found it thought provoking & heartbreaking.
I'll just say it: this movie is pretty boring. The film attempts to reveal the points of view of the core characters, but it shouldn't have even attempted to do this because it seemed like every character except for Anna only got one or two moments to narrate for themselves.
This film was not very interesting visually. In fact, when it tried to do interesting things with the camera, it became noticeable. I swear there must have been 3 or 4 moments with the same "dramatic" shot which tracked into a close-up on Anna quickly and then held its place in a sort of suspense before Anna spoke. Other than this, just a bunch of still shots in this movie and not much camera movement. I really enjoy at least a little camera movement in movies I watch. I only appreciate films filled with still shots if the movie is dramatic and interesting enough to survive without relying on the art of the camera.
The one aspect I really liked about the film is that Anna was portrayed to be a stronger individual, not nearly as annoying and indecisive as in the novel. But honestly, just skip this movie, you can spend your time in better ways.
Unfortunately My Sister's Keeper is NOTHING like the Jodi Picoult book which irritated me a lot. The ending of the book is shocking but thought-provoking. Director Nick Cassavetes totally changes that and turns the film into a predictable "kid-dying-of-cancer" tearjerker.
The cinematography is bland and ugly (I did not like the overuse of the soft golden lighting). The acting is often questionable, as is the scripting. Not to mention the absolute mess of a narrative that jumps all over the place constantly in a failed attempt to be arty, but doesn't have any effect other than confusing the plot. Characters are dull and have barely any actual realism to them; the same goes for the characters' relations and interactions with one another (Kate and her "boyfriend" come across as cheesy, unlikable and totally forced; only distracting us further from the main story). I'm sorry, but the film is like a comedy that tries time and time again to make its audience laugh, but only succeeds once or twice towards the end (making a film and repeatedly trying to make it sad straight off from the moment it begins isn't making a good film - it's just like a first draft script where the producers were like "What would be a good, hard hitting scene?" and adding all of them into the first hour-or-so without making them actually work by working on making the actual characters feel real and likable). It's just not a well made film at all.
Although I didn't mind the Saul Goodman-like lawyer too much :p
Overall rating: 1.8/10 (...I gave the Nic Cage Wicker Man a higher rating...).