My Sister's Keeper (film)
|My Sister's Keeper|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nick Cassavetes|
|Produced by||Stephen Furst
|Screenplay by||Jeremy Leven
|Based on||My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
and Joan Cusack
|Narrated by||Alec Baldwin|
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Edited by||Jim Flynn
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
My Sisters's Keeper is a 2009 American drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, and Alec Baldwin. Based on Jodi Picoult's novel of the same name, My Sister's Keeper was released in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and the United Kingdom on June 26, 2009.
Conceived by means of in vitro fertilization, Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) was brought into the world as a savior sister at the informal suggestion of Kate's doctor, Dr. Chance (David Thornton) (a formal suggestion from the doctor would have been a violation of legal and medical ethics), as a genetic match for her older sister, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who suffers from acute promyelocytic leukemia, to donate compatible organs, blood, and tissue in order to keep her sister alive. Her family members are introduced one by one, and each tells about how Kate's illness has affected them personally. When Kate turns 17, she goes into renal failure. Thirteen-year-old Anna knows that she will be forced by her parents to donate one of her kidneys. She also realizes that she may not be able to live the life she will want to lead - she may not be able to play any sports, or drink alcohol, or be a mother in the future. Anna tells her parents that she does not want any of this and proceeds to sue them for medical emancipation and the rights to her own body. Her father Brian (Jason Patric) sees Anna's point in this, though her domineering mother, Sara (Cameron Diaz), who leads an obsessive campaign to keep Kate alive, is indignant at Anna's decision when she receives the notice of court proceedings, going as far as to strike Anna across the face. Attorney Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) agrees to work for Anna as her guardian ad litem, suing for partial termination of parental rights. It is later learned he agreed to take the case not for the notoriety, but because he suffers from epilepsy, and is genuinely sympathetic to her predicament because he also understands how it feels to have no control over his body. Both Sara and Alexander tell their side of the story to the judge (Joan Cusack), who had recently lost her young daughter, something Sara inadvertently mentions.
The film is interlaced with flashbacks that detail Kate and Anna's close relationship, as well as how Kate's illness has affected her siblings' lives and their relationships. In a flashback, Kate also meets a fellow cancer patient, Taylor Ambrose (Thomas Dekker), whom she begins dating. After a date, they kiss outside Kate's house, with Sara and Kate's father Brian watching from their bedroom window. After this, he becomes her boyfriend in and out of hospital and supports her as she undergoes treatment. He then asks her to the hospital's "prom" for teen patients; there, they slow-dance, then proceed to a vacant hospital room to have sex. A few days later, Kate begins to worry as she has not seen Taylor since the dance. In anger, she reveals to Sara that they did "stuff" together, though later learns that Taylor has died. A grief-stricken Kate later attempts suicide by overdosing on painkillers, but Anna stops her.
Kate makes a request to go to the beach one last time. Brian obtains permission and compassionate encouragement, from Dr. Chance, who claims she is "no more sick there", to do so. Brian discharges her from the hospital for the day and takes her and the kids to the beach. When Brian arrives home to pick everyone up, Sara overreacts and demands that Kate be returned to the hospital immediately, arguing that bringing her to the beach is effectively "killing her". Brian angrily refuses and drives off, threatening Sara with a divorce if she does not join them. Sara shows up at the beach, where they enjoy one final family outing. To Sara's dismay, the judge decides against summary dismissal, and the case goes to a hearing. During the hearing, Anna and Kate's brother, Jesse, reveals while Anna is on the witness stand that Anna is actually acting under Kate's instruction; Kate, not wanting to live any longer and be a detriment to her family, had gently persuaded Anna to refuse to donate her kidney. Kate knew Sara would be too narrow-minded to listen to her, though Anna also reveals that she had wanted to give Kate her kidney of her own accord, and had been terribly upset at Kate's decision. Sara is indignant and attempts to argue, but is finally forced by both Jesse and Brian to realize that Kate had been trying to tell her she is ready to die for some time. The judge makes a request to visit Kate in the hospital before finalising the case. Later that day, as the remainder of the family leave, Kate gifts her mother with a memory book she made over the years she was in the hospital, and later dies while sleeping at the hospital with her mother by her side. After Kate's death, Campbell brings the court decision: Anna won the case. The family moves on with their lives, but reveals that every year on Kate's birthday they go to Montana, which was her "most favorite place in the world". Anna concludes that she was not born merely to save her sister, she was born because she had a sister, and that she helped make life easier for everyone else.
Production and cast changes
Upon the original creation of the film adaptation, sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning were cast to play Kate and Anna respectively. However, when Dakota heard that she would be required to shave her head for the role, she dropped out of the film as then did Elle. The two sisters were replaced, with Abigail Breslin taking on the lead role as Anna Fitzgerald and Sofia Vassilieva on the role of Kate Fitzgerald.
- Sofia Vassilieva as Kate Fitzgerald
- Cameron Diaz as Sara Fitzgerald
- Abigail Breslin as Anna Fitzgerald
- Jason Patric as Brian Fitzgerald
- Chris Kinkade as Dr. Nguyen
- David Thornton as Dr. Chance
- Evan Ellingson as Jesse Fitzgerald
- Alec Baldwin as Campbell Alexander
- E.G. Daily as Nurse Susan
- Lin Shaye as Nurse Adele
- Joan Cusack as Judge De Salvo
- Heather Wahlquist as Aunt Kelly
- Thomas Dekker as Taylor Ambrose
- Olivia Hancock as Young Kate Fitzgerald
- Brennan Bailey as Young Jesse Fitzgerald
- Emily Deschanel as Dr. Farquad
- Jeffrey Markle as Dr. Wayne
- Amit Khanduja as Chief in staff Surgeon
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 47% of reviews for the film were positive, based on 126 reviews. Another aggregate review site Metacritic reported 51% positive reviews based on 28 reviews.
In its opening weekend it placed 5th with a total of $12,442,212, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Proposal (second weekend), The Hangover (fourth weekend), and Up (fifth weekend). The film left theatres on October 8, 2009 with a domestic total of $49,200,230 with a further $46,459,927 from foreign markets. It has grossed $95,660,157 worldwide.
|2009||Teen Choice Award||Choice Summer Movie Drama||My Sister's Keeper||Won|
|2009||ALMA Awards||Outstanding Actress in Motion Picture||Cameron Diaz||Won|
|2010||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress||Abigail Breslin||Won|
|Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Actor||Brennan Bailey||Nominated|
|Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Actress||Sofia Vassilieva||Won|
Changes from book
The most notable difference involves the ending, which the director decided to change against Picoult's wishes. In the novel, Anna dies after being left brain dead from a car accident, and her usable organs are recovered with Campbell's permission, including the vital kidney for Kate, who goes into remission. In the film, Kate dies from her cancer and Anna does not donate her kidney.
Other story threads were altered:
- The book is set in the state of Rhode Island; the film is set in the state of California.
- Julia Romano is completely omitted. In the book she is an adviser to Anna and Campbell Alexander's love interest.
- Jesse commits numerous arson attacks in the novel before eventually being confronted by Brian.
- The relationship between Anna and Campbell is not explored as deeply in the film, and Campbell is a more central character in the book.
- The history of Campbell and Judge is explained towards the end of the book, during a conversation Campbell and Julia have.
- In the book Judge is a German Shepherd, but in the movie he is a Border Collie.
- In the book, Sara is a brunette whereas in the movie, she is blonde.
- In the film, it is revealed that Kate, whilst picking out a dress for the hospital prom, has a massive tantrum and storms off, soon coming across a beautiful wig that she wants to wear to the event. In the novel, Anna makes Kate feel better by making a couple of jokes to the hairdresser on how to style Kate's head for the hospital prom.
- In the book, Anna is thirteen. In the film, she's eleven.
- In the book, Kate is seventeen, while in the film, she's fifteen.
- In the book, Judge De Salvo is a man, but in the film, the character is a woman.
- Anna is shown as a soccer player in the film. In the book, Anna plays hockey.
- In the book, Aunt Suzanne is wealthy and comes to Sara's side occasionally. In the film, she is replaced by Aunt Kelly who works part-time to help Sara's family.
- The film ends with the family on vacation in Montana, Kate's favorite place. In the book, Montana isn't mentioned and Kate explains that her family had been trying to cope with Anna's death.
- In the book, Kate is 26 and remains in remission for years, working as a ballet instructor. In the film, Kate dies instead of Anna.
- Although both versions reveal Kate's part in asking Anna to both refuse to donate her kidney and sue for medical emancipation, how they're shown is different. In the book, Judge's suspicious barking gets Campbell to question Anna and she reveals her true reasons behind it. In the film, it's Jesse who confesses Kate's part in it.
- In the film, Sara confronts Jesse for his behavior. In the novel before De Salvo's verdict, Anna told Sara about Kate's refusal to go through with the surgery as she believed she was already a burden to her family and wishes for death. Although shocked and in disbelief, Sara patiently told her that she had wished Kate told her this a long time ago.
- Don Ho – "Tiny Bubbles"
- E.G. Daily – "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries"
- Priscilla Ahn – "Find My Way Back Home"
- Jimmy Scott – "Heaven"
- Regina Spektor – "Better"
- Jonah Johnson – "With You"
- Greg Laswell – "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
- Pete Yorn – "Don't Wanna Cry"
- Phil Xenidis – "Kill Me"
- Jeff Buckley – "We All Fall in Love Sometimes"
- Edwina Hayes – "Feels Like Home"
- Hana Pestle – "These Two Hands"
- Fleming, Michael (February 12, 2008). "Breslin, Vassilieva to star in 'Keeper'. Duo replaces Fanning sisters in New Line film". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
- "Dakota Fanning Steps Down From 'My Sister's Keeper' Role". Starpulse.com. February 13, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- "My Sister's Keeper". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
- "My Sister's Keeper (2009): Reviews". Metacritic.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for June 26–28, 2009". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- "My Sister's Keeper (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Teen Choice Awards winners