Like the stubborn curmudgeon I am, I keep thinking that with each viewing of MY SISTER'S KEEPER I will finally be able to keep the emotions this film releases at arm's length and watch the movie strictly on its merits. What an idiot I am. Having viewed this film numerous times, I am just as emotionally moved--and drained--as I was when I first saw it in the cinema--when I sat a few rows back from a distraught teen girl who sobbed hysterically during the last half hour.
Sure, there are countless movies about disease, suffering, familial conflict, and death; so why does MY SISTER'S KEEPER strike such a resolute emotional chord? For me, it has to do with the five members of the Fitzgerald family; not only are they totally believable--in their actions and interactions--but they connect with the audience, and the film respects each character enough to allow him or her to be fully vetted and explored. The plot is, quite simply, titanic: Anna (Abigail Breslin), an 11-year-old girl who is a test tube baby brought into the world to donate body parts for her cancer-stricken sister, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), suddenly retains an attorney (Alec Baldwin in, for once, a very likable role) to sue for medical emancipation from her parents, Sara and Brian (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric). Of course the lawsuit throws the Fitzgeralds into further disarray, yet the story moves along beautifully despite all the conflict and turmoil, especially in the form of numerous flashbacks that serve to fill in the blanks for a family ultimately bonded--however dysfunctionally--through love.
I was, and am, extraordinarily moved by this film, whether it be via Anna's yearning for innocence lost, Brian's remarkable love and devotion to all of his family, brother Jesse's (Evan Ellingson) inner turmoil, or Sara's profound determination to save her daughter's life--no matter what the cost to the rest of the family. Through the depictions of these characters we forget we are watching a film; instead we feel we are privy to a front row seat as the Fitzgeralds struggle through an experience that can either bring them all together--or drive them forever apart. As compelling as it is poignant, MY SISTER'S KEEPER is an exceptional examination of human interaction and tragedy, with a silver lining of love and recollection. By all means, please see this movie.
--D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning