Stream of consciousness thoughts about My Sister's Keeper.
If you watch the previews and commercials, My Sister's Keeper should have been a courtroom light-drama, most likely with a happy ending. I'm not going to give any spoilers, but while they want you to think it's a kid vs parents legal story, it's really about the sister who is dying of leukemia. It is in turns very serious, very emotional and somewhat humorous. Most importantly, it's very good. Why they released a good drama during Summer action season, I can only guess.
I almost missed it. My Sister's Keeper will be moving to the discount theaters soon, maybe this Friday, so I was going to skip it and see a more macho movie today. However, I took too long to get out of the house for the other movie and decided to see My Sister's Keeper, starting 20 minutes later. Glad I did. It's a very good movie.
Director Nick Cassavetes used an odd technique for the first third of the movie. He had multiple narrators - each of the major characters. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first - it seemed heavy handed - but there was a lot of exposition to get through and it opened up the story much faster and much deeper than he could have with just one narrator. He stopped using any voice-overs at all after the first third, except at the very end.
I've taken issue with Cassavetes' movies before (The Notebook, She's So Lovely), so I was prepared for the worst. He made some odd choices like he always does, but they generally worked out. There were two scenes, for example, that portrayed a character lost in thought that used neon or bright lights along with indy-ballad music to show it. A little distracting but forgivable, as the rest of the movie worked so well. By the way, my issues with Cassavetes are nothing compared to the ones I've mentioned before about Ron Howard. Cassavetes makes a few odd artistic choices but I can accept and respect that. Howard always puts a fatal flaw in his movies. I'd better not start...
There was an inside joke that fell flat. Emily Deschanel of TV's Bones played a doctor. Her name was Farquad. Yep. Co-star Cameron Diaz was in Shrek, who had a villain named Farquad. They not only showed you the doctor's card in close-up, they had her introduce herself - no one was missing that gag. Take it from a punster - sometimes you have to resist the urge.
The soon to be ubiquitous Abigail Breslin was wonderful as the title character. The girl who played the ill sister, Sofia Vassilieva, was even better. I've never seen her in anything before. Cameron Diaz, a world-class hottie, was convincing as an early 40s mother. She may not get any award nominations at the end of the year, but if she does, she earned them. And Jason Patric, who's spent a career trying to convince audiences that he can't act, played the father to perfection.
If you're interested in an interesting family drama or emotional roller coaster, My Sister's Keeper is a movie for you.