Sunday, June 28, 2009

"My Sister's Keeper" (2009) - Movie Review

Condolences and grief are an immediate attraction for unknown dilemma and unsettling place for people not involved in it. What to talk or whether to talk? Is there need to be false comforts or lying statements of obvious exaggeration? “My Sister’s Keeper” has those things covered perfectly some where in the end of it when the Fitzgerald family’s friends come in and talk about miracles, to do their best to cheer. They are out there when Kate Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva) is in tears with her younger sister Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) and elder brother Jesse Fitzgerald (Evan Ellingson). They stand there waiting for a moment of pause but dad Brian Fitzgerald (Brian Patric) has experience in those and asks “Who wants pizza?”

Kate’s cancer cure has been her genetically birthed sister Anna. Anna has been donating right from birth for her sister’s survival. The movie opens with the family in that cinematic oddities of face value happiness beneath crumbling, understandably. Anna enters the office of lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) and says that she wants to sue her parents for medical emancipation. She has reached the brink to strip her body and put herself through these procedures with needles being punched in and out. She loves her sister but now she is fearing that her life will be of complication and sickness of the same. This shocks Sara Fitzgerald (Cameron Diaz) while Brian knows what they have done. Sara has been the warrior with immense bravery and courage. She along with her family has sheltered Kate with care and laboriously going through with it.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Judi Picoult whose books I have not read but have often seen in the “Target” and “Walmart” where it is right by the women’s section. The film is obviously a tearjerker but there is a noticeable difference. Instead of attempting to put through the soaking sobs of this intolerable ordeal, suffering and fear of loss, Nick Cassevettes digs into the memory and keeps the courtroom drama at bay.

Nobody wants to go through this sadness but people do. When to give up and accept the reality is a line dividing life time regret and a consolation prize of slight comfort. Either way the loss is insurmountable and the living deals with it. Anna’s right in this regard definitely is unquestionable. And Kate has endured enough and more than that seen the pain her family is going through. Sara has taken this as any mother would, to go beyond the lines and fight. Brian knows the vigour in Sara and has stood by her all this time. He has managed to stand outside of Sara’s polarization towards the rest of the kids and looked what they are losing apart from their daughter.

This might be the film which does not exploit the sympathy and rather create empathy for each of the member in this family. Jesse, the older brother has missed out on the genuine care in the scale of the disease intensity to her sister. Brian has been missing his wife and Anna has been made feel to be a mere over the counter prescription. Regardless of these, the family love each other. This is how though it works in each of the house. While it is a dying daughter, it is something else in the other houses.

Cameron Diaz has managed to pull this off and I did doubt her on this role. As the passionate and clouded mother of these kids, she is neurotic but not hateful, she makes her despise but also feel her pain. Her character does not ask for sympathy but be in this fight without question. Brian has been that soldier but now reached that question of conscience and eventuality not able to submit that sincerity to her.

“My Sister’s Keeper” is not a sobfest and it genuinely goes through its characters and forms the shapes of emotions we would have stayed away from because meeting those is unbearable. Death is shocking but slow death is painful. Either ways it is an event to permanently shake any one. The film considerably leaves the moral judgment out of the equation and live through the moments of happiness in Kate’s life with her family. The argument of pro-life and pro-choice applies to the individual family and person with the emotional situation varying considerably. Hence Nick Cassevettes does the noble thing of dealing that only towards the Fitzgerald family. “My Sister’s keeper” might be the melodrama which was prudent and mainly understanding these characters than to blindly use them as tear devices.

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