My Sister’s Keeper

Year: 2009
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer: Nick Cassavetes/Jeremy Levin/Jodi Picoult
Cast: Abagail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassilieva, Jason Patric, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack

From Jodi Picoult's novel comes this weepie drama that pulls every trick in the book to tug your heartstrings. Kids blowing bubbles, slo mo, heart wrenching music, they're all there.

And if you're enough of a sucker (and I was) they work. I found myself fighting back tears once or twice despite being so obviously manipulated. And aside from the blend of midday movie subject matter and big star wattage the premise is very strong and deceptively simple.

When parents Sara (Diaz) and Brian (Patric) have a daughter who develops cancer early in life, their doctor tells them the best chance is to harvest umbilical cord stem cells to treat it, which they can of course only get if they have another baby.

Cute, precocious Anna (Breslin, growing up fast) - the intended donor - is almost in her teens when she goes to a shameless lawyer (Baldwin) to bar her parents from taking more samples and fluids and ultimately her kidney, which will doom her to a life half lived.

Sara can't believe it, her hands full enough with 15-year-old Kate (Vassilieva) slowly dying before all their eyes, and knowing nothing about the book, I was quite surprised by the twist.

Director Cassavetes brings a few dreamy little touches to bear but not much can hold the plot back from owning the whole movie. Even though I have no doubt the book contained far more nuance than the film, it's such a strong story and good performances from all concerned help it along.

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