The collective memoirs of a family trying to cope with their eldest daughters impending death of cancer, set against the back drop of a court case filed against the family by the youngest daughter- who's was conceived as a donor but no longer wants the role.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know a certain thing is expected of you? And the more and more people look to you to do this certain thing, the more you are unwilling to? If only because it was so blatantly expected of you? That's how I felt sitting in the theater watching My Sister's Keeper. The thing they were expecting of me? Tears.
Through this whole movie I got the sense that the entire crew was out to get me all choked up. Now you might be saying to yourself: "But that's fair right? Romantic comedies are out to make you feel romantic while laughing? Dramas are out to make you feel dramatic? What's the problem?" But here I would have to disagree with you person I've created for the purposes of this review. See I think a great movie with a great story's only goal is to tell that story well. If it is a truly great story, then your reaction will come on it's own. See the difference?
I think that a good example of this is the amount of montages. Director Nick Cassavetes (who also directed the Notebook, another movie where got the same feeling) apparently has become another convert to the montage mantra: The belief that for every half hour of run time, there is to be at least one montage. Also known as the Baywatch rule. With a run time of nearly two hours, you can see where I'm going with this.
Two things that rose above this din of posturing, however, were the performances from Jason Patric, as Brian Fitzgerald- and Sofia Vassilieva as Kate Fitzgerald. Playing the Father of the family, Patric easily could have filled every scene with hot emotion- but instead played them all with worn down understatement. This choice bound me to the character, and drew me into a movie that otherwise didn't have much going for it. Sofia Vassilieva, as a character who's been facing her own death almost her entire life- runs the emotional gauntlet, but is always believable. Beyond these the performance were all very good, but felt a bit labored.
I think this movie will feel just right to anyone who loved movies like, well, The Notebook to be completely honest. But I think other viewers will find it comes up just a bit short for their taste. As for me, my tears stayed safe in their ducts.
Reel Deal Reccomends:
NARC: For a riveting performance out of Jason Patric.
???: Sofia Vassilieva has done most of her work on t.v. and apparently below my radar. Let me know your faves of hers!