The book review is here.
Anyone who has seen the preview for this movie knows what they are getting themselves into. You know going into it that there is a sick sister and a not sick sister… and that the not sick sister doesn’t want to be an organ 7-11 anymore. Also, you get the sense from the preview that the movie will teach you about life, love and family sacrifice.
All that is true… but it isn’t enough to make a movie compelling. For that, you would need a few things that this movie sadly lacks. Like cohesion and proper pacing.
I talked to a dozen fellow opening night viewers at my local movie theater and the overwhelming response was “good story, but not set up quite right.” Translation: the story is inherently powerful… sick kid…. Family drama… quality of life… how we deal with death… But the execution of this story left something to be desired. (To be fair this view was shared by those movie goers who had both read the book and who didn’t know it was based on a book.)
The movie had a framing device that was weak, a shifting narration that did little more than make the transitions awkward, and a sever lack of character development.
But ignoring the cinematography, the direction, the acting (which was superb), you are left still with a story that is haunting and tear jerking, and thus it is easy to forget all about everything else.
In other words, because the subject matter is inherently provocative, we don’t need a well made movie in order to leave the theater thinking “wow, how sad.”
In short, a disappointing execution of a very powerful story. Making an audience feel sad, is easy. Sadness is one of the easiest emotions to illicit from any audience no matter age, race, or financial strata. Show a child in peril, show a child in tears, show a mother weeping over a grave…. And Boom! Instant compassion on the side of the viewer.
The makers of My Sister’s Keeper knew this… and they seemed to delight in pouring lemon juice onto the open wounds. It is a shortcut to “good” by being “moving.”
And it was unnecessary.
Conclusion: Watch the preview, read a “spoiler”, and save yourself the ten bucks. You won’t be missing anything.