Starring: Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Running Time: 109 mins
My Sister’s Keeper is an American film about an eleven year-old girl who decides to sue her parents, who have relied on her to keep her older sister, who is battling cancer, alive.
A film caught between a fascinating, emotionally and thematically powerful story, and a rather melodramatic Hollywood production, there’s something about My Sister’s Keeper that’s holding it back from being something great.
Let’s start on the bright, or at least positive side. Striking right from the off, this film tells a genuinely enthralling story about a challenging but ultimately powerfully important fact of life.
Following a young girl who has been effectively brought up as ‘spare parts’ for her ailing sister, this film offers a riveting window into themes of family, death and the importance of prioritising one’s self.
With a clearly caring but blinded mother trying to do everything to keep her sickest daughter alive, My Sister’s Keeper demonstrates the potentially devastating and undoubtedly immoral collateral damage caused by trying to stop someone dying.
Complete with interesting (albeit often slightly simple) legal drama as much of the film plays out in a courtroom, it’s an often difficult truth to stomach, but the film’s earnestness and dedication in seeing its main point through its thoroughly impressive.
However, where My Sister’s Keeper falls down comes as a consequence of its often more melodramatic sensibilities, which tend to cheapen the film’s genuinely gripping drama.
In the lead role, young Abigail Breslin is excellent, and manages to provide the film’s most emotionally rich and genuine performance. Alongside her, however, the likes of Cameron Diaz and even Alec Baldwin come across as rather more hysterical, rather than giving more earnest and thereby more effective performances in their respective roles on both sides of the debate.
It’s fair to say that My Sister’s Keeper, for all its strengths, does engage in a little bit of sensationalism, and unfortunately undoes the impact of its gripping thematic depth.
However, given that excellent thematic focus and the emotionally challenging nature of its screenplay, the film still provides a thoroughly captivating watch. So, that’s why I’m giving My Sister’s Keeper a 7.2 overall.