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My Sister's Keeper


Stars: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Adam Baldwin, Jason Patric, Sofia Vassilieva, Joan Cusack, Evan Ellingson, Emily Deschanel, David Thornton

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Cassavetes’ sensitively directed emotional drama, based the best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult and scripted by Jeremy Leven who also wrote Cassavetes’ The Notebook is an unashamed heartstrings tugger.

“I was engineered for one particular reason’ says 11-year-old Breslin. That reason? To provide ‘spare parts’ for older sister who is dying from leukemia. But now Breslin has had enough suffering and tells lawyer Baldwin “I want to sue my parents for the rights to my own body”, triggering off understandable family trauma and a court case in front of Judge Cusack whose own young daughter has recently died…

Clearly every emotional base is loaded in this woman’s picture par excellence, a 24 carat tearjerker if ever there was one. (Douglas Sirk must be revolving in his grave).

Diaz, playing against type in a purely dramatic role, abandons obvious glamour and ultimately excels as Vassilieva’s distressed mother, Baldwin (apart from a not that convincing epileptic fit) scores as an apparently none-too-ethical brief given to excessive television advertisements and Cusack is a delight. Vassilieva, bald and patently suffering, is excellent too, even when involved in a not-entirely-convincing romance with a fellow cancer patient, but is Breslin, giving her best performance so far, who triumphantly walks away with the acting honours, presaging superstardom if she continues to steal films in this way.

One piece of advice – have plenty of tissues handy.

Alan Frank

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 29 Jun 2009