My Sister’s Keeper

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

Main Actors: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sophia Vassilieva, Jason Patric, Alec Baldwin. Directed by Nick Cassavetes

FILM SYNOPSIS:This heart-wrenching family drama is based on a novel by Jodi Picoult and deals with the mixed blessings of modern technology. Eleven-year-old Anna (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine) adores her 15-year-old sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), but rebels when her mom, Sara (Cameron Diaz), announces that Anna must donate one of her kidneys to save Kate’s life. After all, Anna was conceived to be the perfect donor, an engineered baby, when Kate was diagnosed with leukemia 11 years ago. Anna makes an appointment with flamboyant attorney Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin), and a few days later, Sara is served with Anna’s petition for medical emancipation. And the fireworks begin. Dad (Jason Patric) is torn between the two, but feels strongly that Anna deserves her day in court. Some of the hospital scenes of Kate reacting from her treatments are graphic and not appropriate for young children. Be sure to take your hanky. If you have read the book, be warned that you may be disappointed that the movie does not have the same surprise ending as the book.

PREVIEW REVIEW: A friend of mine summed up the principal message of My Sister’s Keeper very nicely: “We do things our way, thinking we know what’s best, but God’s plan will prevail.” Denying Anna her right to be a normal kid by doing everything possible to save another’s life – how can loving parents make such a choice?

The Fitzgerald family doesn’t agree, but their love for each other is never in doubt as they face the elephant in the room together. The three children – yes, there is also a son, Jesse (Evan Ellington) – are very close. Anna spends many hours with Kate during her hospital stays, giggling about girl stuff and teasing the sometimes stern nurses. Jesse helps Anna raise the cash to pay the lawyer and also speaks up with a startling revelation at the court hearing. Flashbacks of family outings reflect their times of joy and laughter during Kate’s sporadic remissions.

As thoughtful and well-acted a movie as My Sister’s Keeper is, there are some embellishments that take away from the original story. During a hospital stay Kate meets a very charming teenage boy undergoing chemo. The two terminally ill teenagers become very close and he invites her to a prom the hospital pediatrics ward holds each year for their patients. This is Kate’s first crush and first dance. Her parents share her excitement in experiencing this dream What is the point of the two ending up in an empty hospital bed having sex? The scene is not graphic, but totally inappropriate and unbelievable considering the physical condition of both.

Sara and Brian’s marriage might be severely threatened. Sara’s emotional outbursts include some pretty strong language, especially when Brian takes Kate out of the hospital to spend a day on the beach. It turns out to be one of the happiest days in the family’s life when Sara belatedly joins them. The children‘s unusual wisdom reveals amazing acceptance of things they can’t change. Kate tells a friend, “I don’t mind the disease killing me, but it’s killing my family too.” The Fitzgeralds family is truly blessed.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
NewLine Cinema

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Few s-words and 1 f-word

Profanity: G-damn 1, J-C 1, and OMG 1

Violence: None

Sex: Teenagers shown in bed, caressing with sex implied

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Teenagers shown in bed, caressing with sex implied

Drugs: Only medically administered drugs in hospital

Other: Graphic scenes of girl vomiting, nosebleeds; religious beliefs not mentioned in brief discussions of death and heaven

Running Time: 109 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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