Director Nick Cassevettes (The Notebook) brings us the movie version of the novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult. Fans of the book have been forewarned -- the film ending is different from the book, although the core of the story remains the same. It centers around Anna (Abigail Breslin) -- who was conceived by means of in vitro fertilization and genetically matched to help her older sister, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva of TV's Medium), who suffers from acute promyelocytic leukemia.
With a mother (Cameron Diaz) who will stop at nothing to save her eldest daughter, Anna has endured many procedures aimed at helping Kate recover from the disease. But at what cost? Kate has suffered for years -- but so, too, has Anna. She is unable to live a normal life either. Is it fair to ask a healthy child to take on the burden of trying to save her sick sibling? These are just some of the ethical questions explored as Anna sues her parents to seek her own medical emancipation.
The main cast is fine, but no performances stand out -- especially not a dramatic attempt by Diaz. In supporting roles, Alec Baldwin (Anna's attorney) and Joan Cusack (the judge) also put their comic expertise on hold here. Although both are great actors, they are miscast.
A courtroom revelation becomes an interesting twist, but it can't save this film. It plays like a television movie -- complete with scene fade-outs. I half-expected to see commercials or the Lifetime network logo to pop up. I wanted to like this movie -- and was ready for a good cry. There were moments I thought that may happen -- especially when Kate falls for fellow teenage cancer patient, Taylor (the engaging Thomas Dekker of TV's Heroes and The Sarah Connor Chronicles). But honestly, I didn't even tear up. The film too often felt contrived. [PG-13; Opens June 26]
The movie soundtrack includes a previously unreleased song performed by (the late, great) Jeff Buckley. Click on the image below to listen.