My Sister's Keeper

Nick Cassavetes (son of Director John Cassavetes and Actress Gena Rowlands) has taken Jodi Picoult's best-selling novel and, along with Jeremy Levin, created yet another intimate family drama. The Cassavetes/Levin team ("The Notebook") brings authentic insights into the dynamics that constitute a family.

If you have seen the promotion, you already know that a successful couple, played by a never-better Jason Patrick and a heart-wrenching Cameron Diaz discover that their toddler daughter has leukemia. For numerous reasons, the odds are against them getting a match for bone-marrow transplants, etc., so they opt to have a "designer baby." This little one is genetically compatible with her sister, so from the moment of birth, she is used to extend her sister's diminishing life.

The three children and the parents are all exceptionally nice people... well, maybe Diaz's character is a little too focused on her first-born daughter, but under the circumstances...

Our family:
  • Jason Patrick ("Little Children") is a fireman who is the loving father to this brood. (I'll sure be glad when that skuzzy, three-day-beard look goes out of fashion, though!)
  • Cameron Diaz ("Being John Malkovich") is the attorney who has abandoned her career in order to put all of her intellect and resources into saving her stricken daughter.
  • Sofia Vassilieva (LOTS of TV) is the teenage leukemia victim, trying to squeeze a little normalcy into her life.
  • Evan Ellingson ("Walk the Line") plays the brother who is consistently overlooked as the rest of the family struggles with his older sister's mortality.
  • Abigail Breslin (who has been working since she was six years old) is the designer baby who finally files for medical emancipation so she no longer has to give up body parts for her sister. (By the way, Alec Baldwin is the dirt-bag lawyer she hires and Joan Cusack is the judge who hears the case.)

This is a beautifully wrought piece that illustrates the effects of chronic illness on every member of a family. Cassavetes draws amazing performances from everyone in this film. I expected to find it maudlin (there WERE a few sniffles from the audience), but instead, found the character studies to feel authentic and involving. Diaz in particular, really shines: you love her and you understand her, but you hate her, all at the same time.