My Sister’s Keeper (2009)
My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.

Release Date: June 26th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Nick Cassavetes Actors: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Joan Cusack

 


 

“M

y Sister’s Keeper” surrounds itself in the situations and lives of a family so depressingly wounded, though not exactly dysfunctional as Abigail Breslin’s narrating Anna would have viewers believe, that it’s often difficult to relate or sympathize. The overly emotional exchanges and tearful drama appear so frequently that anticipating the next bout of sobbing becomes a game much like the jumpy scares of a horror film. Though the acting never falters, several direction choices, such as constantly changing narrators and ill-suited musical accompaniments, detract from the overall effect of this mostly-poignant weep-fest. Misery may love company, but when in the company of this much misery, it’s difficult to maintain an appropriate connection.

Since her birth, Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) has undergone constant sacrifices to help keep her sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) alive. From blood to bone marrow, she has given whatever is needed to fend off the impending tragedy of her sister’s leukemia. But upon the necessity of a kidney transplant, Anna decides she has had enough, and hires famously outspoken lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) to win medical emancipation from her domineering mother (Cameron Diaz). But as this new confrontation collides with Kate’s steadily declining condition, the Fitzgeralds must come together as a family before a guarded secret destroys them completely.

Under the foundation of happy family life resides many cracks, resentments, depression, and dysfunction – especially when a deadly disease threatens to disrupt all sense of normalcy and happiness. But audiences will get that from the first ten minutes of the film. So the next couple hours, involving one saddening moment trumped by another heartbreaking episode, grows tiresome very quickly. A unique premise may lurk amongst the tear-jerking scenes, but it just isn’t much fun to watch. Important themes and thought-provoking subject matter can’t prevent “My Sister’s Keeper” from being little more than unending weeping, bleeding, and music video montages.

It’s a realistic and heavy-hitting drama with several outstanding performances. Abigail Breslin is, as usual, awfully mature for her age; Alec Baldwin brings a charming sense of ethics to the table as a charismatic lawyer; and Joan Cusack provides an understandably biased source of justice. It’s undoubtedly tough to deal with cancer, not just for the sick but for their family. As demonstrated in the film, the parental attention is unfairly split up between the children. It’s quite an emotional event, but with such a looming preoccupation with death and children forcibly coming to terms with mortality, the entertainment value is just as bleak as the plot. Even the lighter scenes are tinged with a sorrowful melancholy, as if foreshadowing the next tearful segment. Just when it couldn’t get any sadder, it does.

– The Massie Twins

  • 5/10