Newest Review: ... her younger sister Anna and Cameron Diaz as their mother Sara. I thought that Sofia Vassilieva did a fantastic job. At just 16 year... more
My Sisters Keeper
My Sister's Keeper (DVD)
Member Name: Ainat
My Sister's Keeper (DVD)
Date: 07/08/11, updated on 29/06/13 (59 review reads)
Advantages: Wonderful, heartfelt performances from the actors
Disadvantages: The story is changed too much from the book
*This is a film only review*
Film - My Sisters Keeper
Main actors - Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric, and Alec Baldwin
Certificate - 12
Running Time - 109 minutes
Genre - Drama
I am a Jodi Picoult fan, converted to her style of writing after the first book of hers that I read, which was 'My Sisters Keeper'. I LOVED the book, found it to be well written, emotional, gripping, heart felt, and with a twist to the end of the story. I felt that there was no way the film could live up to the book. I have to admit - I was right. Now, I know books get changed for the big screen - it's a fact of life when it comes to film adaptations - so I was fully expecting there to be some changes. With my expectations of these changes and the reviews I'd had from friends, I was actually put off watching this movie. Curiosity got the better of me, so today I curled up on the sofa and decided to give the movie a go. I was aware before watching that the ending had been changed. After watching the film I feel that the screenplay should have kept the ending of the book. It would have made the ending a lot more dramatic, and would have made the film stick in the viewers mind for a lot longer. I'm not going to reveal the endings (in the book or film), you will have to read/watch to find out the endings.
*Short plot summary*
Sara and Brian Fitzgerald (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) have an idyllic life with their two children, until they discover that their daughter, aged just 2, has leukaemia. The two parents make the decision to have a third child, Anna (Abigail Breslin), genetically matched to their eldest daughter, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva). Anna is subjected to multiple operations throughout her life in order to help her sister survive, whilst older brother Jesse (Evan Ellingson) is left on the sidelines to go off the rails. When Anna is told she WILL donate a kidney to Kate, Anna decides she has had enough and takes her parents to court to fight for the right to own her body and not have to go through everything she has been though in her life so far.
I am normally used to seeing Cameron Diaz in a comedy role, so seeing her in something this serious was a little different, and I'll give her some credit, I feel as though she did take to the role of Sara Fitzgerald. She played the role of distraught mother well.
Jason Patric did well as the father trying to hold his family together. He was subtly full of emotion. I think I would have liked to see more of him, especially as he does seem to have more of a role in the book itself.
Alec Baldwin managed to portray Campbell Alexander in a very similar way to how I imagined him to be when reading the book, so I do admit I did like his character. He had a presence about him in the courtroom which mirrored my interpretations of him that I had from the book.
In regards to the children (well, teens), I feel as though they also all did well. Sofia Vassilieva didn't have the looks of the Kate I imagined from the book, but I feel as though she did portray Kate well. The part of Kate can't have been easy to play. I've heard rumours that Dakota Fanning was first offered the part of Kate, but refused to shave her hair for the part. I'm not sure if I can picture Fanning in the role, and am glad that Vassilieva took the role on. This quote from Vassilieva is on IMDB.com and I think it sums up her attitudes in regards to her acting and playing Kate Fitzgerald and the maturity that she has, and I feel that this has really helped her portray Kate on screen -
"There are scripts when you fall so much in love with your character. And if you are lucky and offered this part you should not tempt your fate and go to the greatest extent to be/to play this character. If you have an opportunity to do that and you do not, it's shameful. Shaving my head was the least I could do for Kate to experience a degree of her isolation and outcast from a 'normal' healthy life."
As well as Vassilieva, both Abigail Breslin and Evan Ellingson played the parts of Anna and Jesse well. For most of the film Breslin portrayed Anna well, but there were odd parts here and there where I would have liked to see more of the emotions in the character that are in the book. I think if the screenplay had been written differently it would have allowed for this to happen. But here I am comparing the book to the film. Trying to look at the film alone I did like how Breslin portrayed Anna. Same really for Jesse. When Ellingson was on screen I feel as though he did play the part of Jesse well, but again the screenplay didn't allow the character to shine as much as he does in the book.
Now, as mentioned, before watching this film I did think there was no way that this film would live up to the book. I was right. If directly comparing the book and the film I would give the film 2 stars. However, I am trying to be fair to the film and give it some credit in it's own right, even though the storyline has been changed, and changed significantly in some places. I feel as though the acting was generally done well throughout. In some respects the film did represent the book. For example the film did make an attempt at replicating Jodi Picoults writing style from which the story is told through different characters perspectives. In the film, this is done through narration. I don't normally like films with too much narration, but I feel it worked for this one.
As a film on it's own, I do actually think it is a good film. There is a story of a family to be told, and it is told reasonably well. However I can't help but compare it to the book. The film has nothing on the book, and as adaptations go it isn't the greatest. Friends of mine that haven't read the book have enjoyed this film a lot more, and I imagine this is because they don't have the book to compare the film to. Once you have read a book though it's practically impossible to not compare the two. The book is definitely superior to the film, but I would still recommend the film - just would advise to watch the film first.
I have given it 4 stars as I'm trying to be fair and judge just the film as I have rated the book in another review. If I were to rate the film as an adaptation, I would give it 2 stars.
Summary: Worth a watch, but the film has nothing on the book