My Sister's Keeper

2009-08-17 10:22
 

What it's about:

Anna (Abigail Breslin) has an older sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) who is dying of leukaemia. Their parents, Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patric) conceived Anna through genetic engineering so that she could provide donor body parts and blood to save Kate's life. While this all sounds rather sci-fi, it's really about a little girl who's tired of having her body pillaged, while still having the responsibility of knowing she's the only one who can save her sister. She seeks medical emancipation from her parents, and a tug of war ensues.

What we thought:

I love soppy movies. Sometimes you just really need a good cry and watching one can give you the excuse you need to bawl like a baby.

My Sister's Keeper, based on the depressing novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult, is a bona fide tear-jerker. In fact, its prime objective is to wrench those tears from your emotionally drained body. But the glossed-over depiction of dealing with grief negates all the heartfelt sentiments that are supposed to give the film its poignant quality. That's what's really sad about it.

The character of Anna takes a very matter-of-fact attitude to life and death, which is mature and refreshing. It's such a pity that this attitude doesn't filter through the overall mood of the film, which rather chooses to play on whimsical flashbacks and a cookie-cutter ideal of how to get along in animpossible situation.

The pacing is interesting because you're always left wanting to find out who, what and why, so on that note, you won't be guessing the ending. This isn't always successful, though. At one point, Sara shaves her head in 'solidarity' with Kate who, bald from her chemotherapy treatment, starts to see herself as an ugly freak. However, a few scenes later and with its purpose served, Sara's recently bald dome sports a full head of hair. This is not the only hole in the story, and many scenes seem quite arbitrary as they're never fully roped back into the story.

Cameron Diaz plays the neurotic, control-obsessed Sara Fitzgerald. She nails the desperate, frenzied qualities of a mother on the edge, but she fails to contrast it with any sort of motherly love. Instead of coming across as a mother who doesn't want to lose her child, she's just a hard-done-by woman who refuses to lose. Period.

In classic role reversal, Abigail Breslin and Sofia Vassilieva play the beautiful, mature children who deal with the reality of Kate's situation much better than their mother does. The child actors give touching and insightful performances, putting the overwrought Diaz to shame. The supporting cast of Alec Baldwin as Anna's lawyer and Joan Cusack as the judge add some quality acting to the film, but they are underused and quite forgettable.

This is an original story with so much potential. Unfortunately director Nick Cassavetes has swamped it in mawkish sentimentality and carefully manipulated "moments", suffocating the wonder of our amazing ability to survive traumatic experiences like this.


Insincere performances and insensitive assumptions will make you laugh and cry for all the wrong reasons in this family drama.

P 2009/08/17 9:05 AM
Completely disagree with your negative comments in the article...there is no need to over analyse a film, just take for what it is.
Eric 2009/08/17 9:20 AM
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I believe the review is accurate. A good story but over dramatised plot with some inconsistencies. A controversial issue has been turned into a real tear-jerker!
mike 2009/08/17 9:41 AM
This totally corroborates my assertion the Cameron Diaz is a pretty face actress - she's managed vapid roles in the past with a vacuous blue eyes and a smile. Now those "qualities" are going, she's being shown up badly. I've seen blocks of wood with more character. Re the movie, I guess I'll have to read the book first, to avoid being bored to tears by the story, and then hating it.
Rene 2009/08/17 10:25 AM
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P - This review’s job is to give an honest account of what the movie was like – not sugar-coat it for people who want to hear their own opinions expressed. That’s not responsible writing. I absolutely agree with the review btw. The issues dealt with in this movie are incredibly controversial and touching, but was poorly handled. Fans of the book will be disappointed, I'm sure.
C 2009/08/17 11:55 AM
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I read the book and was very disappointed with the movie. The book had so much depth and meaning which was totally lost in the movie. I also agree that the role of the lawyer was under-emphasized contrary to the book. The change of ending was pathetic and changed the point of the story. Very very disappointed.
NR 2009/08/17 1:24 PM
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I got the message, very good
ES 2009/08/17 3:02 PM
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I agree with the comment about the ending. Hollywood always cops out. They like to give the ending they think viewers will cope with. Also, I thought all the kids came across much better than Mom, who showed absolutely no endearing qualities. It's always difficult though for a movie to fully portray a character one has come to understand better through the pages of a novel. Movies can't ALL be Lord of the Rings trilogies. Still, My Sisters Keeper isn't one I'll add to my collection when it's released on dvd.
J 2009/08/17 3:27 PM
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I can't believe Jodi Picoult allowed this to be made, it doesn't stand up to the book at all. Agree with C 100%.
Renata 2009/08/17 4:11 PM
i read the book and couldnt put it down. the movie was NOTHING in comparison. none of the characters were portrayed the way they were in the book and whats up with the ending? it was really boring and alot of it didnt even make sense. if you hadn't read the book you wouldn;t have even known that Jesse had started the fire. very disappointed.
Rushdi 2009/08/17 11:47 PM
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nonsense - i read the book, loved 95% of it, but when i read that ending, "loved" turned to "hated", and i wanted to fling the book against a wall. the book's ending was hideous; the film takes the story and makes it even better. cameron diaz is brilliant in it, as is cameron diaz, jason patric, alec baldwin and the girl who plays the older sister. a really well-made drama (pack lots of tissues...;)
PRESHEN GOVENDER 2009/08/18 1:43 PM
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Very disappointing no nude or Sex Scenes
Tanya Lubbe 2009/08/18 5:05 PM
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I read the book and watched the movie. Although the movies differs from the book - the ending especially - I felt the movie was great. There is no way you could introduce all the characters or "scenes" from the book into the movie...it would be far too long and we would all probably STILL be in the cinema. It was well acted!
steve 2009/09/16 12:34 PM
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bawled like a baby through this whole movie
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