Movie Reviews

Film Review: “My Sister’s Keeper”

(New Line. 1 hour, 46 minutes. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language and brief teen drinking. Directed by Nick Cassavetes.) Cameron Diaz (Sara Fitzgerald), Abigail Breslin (Anna Fitzgerald), Sofia Vassilieva (Kate Fitzgerald), Jason Patric (Brian Fitzgerald), Alec Baldwin (Campbell Alexander), Joan Cusack (Judge De Salvo). Music by Aaron Zigman.

Solid movie dealing with an ethical dilemma. Anna’s an 11-year-old girl who rebels when her parents want her to donate a kidney to her older sister Kate, who suffers from leukemia. Problem is, Anna was conceived in a test tube for the specific purpose of providing “spare parts” for Kate. Now Anna wants medical emancipation and goes to Campbell Alexander, a hotshot attorney, for legal help.

Some critics gave this movie a bashing but I think it’s undeserved. Yes, there are a few problems: Diaz’ role as the mother is too one-note (her default mode is “scream”); Alec Baldwin’s a bit overexposed these days; and the soundtrack contains about five sappy songs too many. But the performances of Breslin and Vassilieva stand out, the premise is compelling, and the movie doesn’t back away from showing what a terminally-ill teenager goes through. Plus, Cusack shines as the judge who considers the case while dealing with the loss of her own daughter. Director Cassavetes (son of actress Gena Rowlands and the late actor/director John Cassavetes) is best known for The Notebook. The pluses outweigh the minuses here.