Decoding Annie Parker
||This article may contain improper references to self-published sources. (December 2011)|
|Decoding Annie Parker|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Bernstein|
|Produced by||Steven Bernstein
Stuart W. Ross
|Written by||Adam Bernstein
|Music by||Steven Bramson|
|Editing by||Douglas Crise|
|Studio||Dorado Media and Capital
Media House Capital
Story and Film
|Distributed by||Entertainment One Films|
|Running time||91 minutes|
Decoding Annie Parker is a drama film written and directed by Steven Bernstein. The film stars Samantha Morton, Helen Hunt and Aaron Paul. The film tells the story of Annie Parker and the almost discovery of the cure for cancer.
11-year-old Annie Parker is living the perfect young life, loved by all, and especially by her mother, father, and older sister. But none of them knows that something horrible is stalking this perfect family. On a fall afternoon in 1976, young Annie hears a noise from upstairs. Her mother has collapsed and died, and an agonizing downward spiral begins, as we interweave her story with another…
Far away, a brilliant research geneticist at UC Berkeley named Mary-Claire King is embarking on something of a personal crusade to uncover the genetic roots of breast cancer. While still in her twenties, she has already made a famous discovery that made the cover of Science magazine—quantifying the genetic variation between humans and chimpanzees. But her conviction that there is a hereditary basis to at least some forms of breast cancer is not widely shared. Nevertheless, her tireless research throughout the 1980s would end in a medical breakthrough—the discovery of the location of the BRCA1 hereditary breast cancer gene—considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the twentieth century and touch thousands of lives, including that of a young woman living thousands of miles away, named Anne Parker.
At the age of 19, after the sudden death of her father, Anne marries Paul and soon is pregnant. She struggles to find a way in the world with her equally young but misguided husband and her older sister who tries to become a surrogate parent to Anne. But, cruelly, Anne’s sister contracts the same cancer that killed their mother, and in a few months, she, too, is dead.
Annie is diagnosed with the same disease that killed her mother and sister—breast cancer. It is severe, and surgery and chemotherapy, with all its accompanying difficulties, soon follows. She loses her hair, and if that wasn't enough to endure, her husband, never really mature or stable, has begun an affair with Anne’s closest friend, and leaves her, shortly before she is diagnosed with a second cancer.
And this is where many stories would end—with tragedy of unimaginable anguish and an almost surreal relentlessness. But Anne Parker is not an ordinary woman and hers is not an ordinary story. With the help of a young doctor, Sean, and a new friend, Kim, Anne continues her fight. As each tragedy befalls her, something remarkable happens. She grows stronger. As each new sadness comes, she grows more resolved. As her world becomes darker, she becomes, well… funnier. So funny, that she makes other patients laugh. So funny, her doctors are far more serious about her illness than she is. So positive, that she becomes a life force onto herself, determined to survive it all. And something else—she believes that she must find the genetic secret that hid in her family and killed almost all of them. It becomes the focus of her considerable energies.
While Annie struggles, King is pursuing her belief that some forms of breast and ovarian cancer have a hereditary basis. While she captures headlines for her work applying DNA fingerprinting to help reunite "the disappeared" with their families in Argentina, her priority is to map the breast cancer gene.
King focuses on collecting families with a particularly high incidence of breast cancer, suspecting that these cases are most likely to reveal any genetic predispositions. Advances in genetic mapping through the 1980s gradually allow her team to embark on studies to map the location of the BRCA1 gene. Finally, in 1990, King and her team find conclusive evidence linking DNA markers on chromosome 17 with an inherited flaw in a gene dubbed BRCA1. The work was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics conference in Cincinnati, and published in Science magazine a short time later.
Mary Claire King ended up on the cover of Time magazine, and Anne Parker finally had the answer she herself had long sought. This same Anne Parker, now happily remarried, who a few years later would contract cancer for a third time. And she would survive again. And she laughed while being treated, for reasons only she knew and understood.
- Samantha Morton as Annie Parker
- Helen Hunt as Mary-Claire King
- Aaron Paul as Paul
- Rashida Jones as Kim
- Richard Schiff as Mr. Allen
- Bradley Whitford as Marshall Parker
- Bob Gunton as Dr. Benton
- Alice Eve as Louise
- Maggie Grace as Sarah
- Corey Stoll as Sean
- Benjamin McKenzie as Tom
- Mageina Tovah as Ellen
Filming began in October 2011 and wrapped in November 2011. Post-production was completed in 2012.
- King, M.; Wilson, A. (1975). "Evolution at two levels in humans and chimpanzees". Science 188 (4184): 107. doi:10.1126/science.1090005.
- Davies, Kevin; White, Michael (1996). Breakthrough: The Race to Find the Breast Cancer Gene. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-12025-1.
- Hall, J.; Lee, M.; Newman, B.; Morrow, J.; Anderson, L.; Huey, B.; King, M. (1990). "Linkage of early-onset familial breast cancer to chromosome 17q21". Science 250 (4988): 1684. doi:10.1126/science.2270482.
- McNary, Dave (December 4, 2013). "Samantha Morton-Helen Hunt’s ‘Decoding Annie Parker’ Gets U.S. Distribution (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety (PMC). Retrieved December 30, 2013.