“MY SISTER’S KEEPER” (Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin & Jason Patrick)
Fans of “7 Pounds” should enjoy this film – well, that’s not a fair comparison; the heavy drama of Will Smith’s ‘downer’ flick was at least cloaked in mystery – why is he doing what he’s doing? With ‘Sister’s Keeper’, you know going in what it’s about & that there won’t be a lot of laughs coming your way.
But like, ‘7 Lbs.’, the cast help to make it realistic with their performances – especially impressive because children & Cameron Diaz are involved. Is Abigail Breslin as good as Dakota Fanning in her ‘prime’? It’s starting to become a viable argument.
The plot is rather morbid, but true to life with the obscene ways parents behave in this ‘modern’ society; Diaz & Patric are Sara & Brian Fitzgerald (I think Gordon Lightfoot wrote a song about their relationship back in the 70’s) Their second child, first daughter, Kate is diagnosed with Leukemia at a very young age. Their less-than-reputable physician actually suggests that they create a clone of Kate in a test tube to be her own personal organ donor. Sara & Brian, being idiots, do this. & thus, Anna (Abigail) is born and ‘harvested’ for the first 11 years of her life to help keep sickly dying Kate alive.
When Kate’s kidneys shut down, Anna is expected to give up one of hers. With help from older brother Jesse (Evan Ellingson) Anna hires lawyer Campbell Alexander (Another impressive cameo by Alec Baldwin) to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Now, any normal thinking parent would suddenly realize that what they’ve been doing to Anna is downright despicable & come to their senses - Sara, an obsessed witch of a mother, takes her daughter to court to force her to continue to donate body parts & fluids to her dying sister.
They say this film will cause many controversial discussions, but I don’t see how anyone in their right mind would find a logical humane reason to back what Sara does. I give Diaz credit in that I hated Sara, but was her acting all that impressive? No, it really wasn’t, since anyone playing that role would have been easy to despise – but that’s not to say Diaz was bad, she didn’t detract from the storyline with her acting & for that she’s to be applauded. The rest of the cast is outstanding; Sofia Vassilieva as Kate couldn’t have been more believable as a dying teenager. Jason Patric as firefighter dad who takes way too long to stand up to his bitch of a wife deserves credit as well. As I said, Abigail has reached the plateau of one of the best child actresses ever; her scenes with Baldwin are probably my favorites in the film.
Now for the nitpicking; I liked Joan Cusak as the judge that has to decide the outcome of Anna’s lawsuit, but I was let down by a scene in which Anna asks her, “What does it feel like when someone you love dies?” (The judge had recently lost her own daughter)
She answers with the cliché'd ‘lone tear streaking down her cheek’ – she should have answered the question – to me, this scene felt like a cop-out by the writer.
My next nit to pick is the soundtrack – Liked the use of Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home” during the frolicking on the beach scene, but at one point in the film, I found myself thinking, “What the...? Is that ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’?” It was being sung by a male with a slow, maudlin arrangement... Don’t ask me why they chose this selection other than to check & see if anyone was paying attention to the music - & those of us who were, at least got a chuckle out of this otherwise bleak film.
A small nit, but worth picking at was the disturbing sensation I felt while watching the very sexy Aunt Gloria (Nicole Lenz) romp on the beach with her young nephew Jesse. I’m not alone in this, others have told me they felt the same uneasiness concerning that relationship.
And I didn’t like the ending, though I obviously won’t reveal why in this review, I’ll just say that it wasn’t very realistic as they tried to put an upbeat spin on the future of the Fitzgeralds.
Over-all though, a very good film; it tugs at your emotions in many different fashions & is elevated above the ‘Movie of the Week’ plot thanks to some very fine acting and plot twists.