16 July 2009

My Sister's Keeper

As her sister, Kate, nears the final stages of leukemia, 11-year-old Anna (Abigail Breslin) files suit in order to avoid donating a kidney.

Through two thirds of "My Sister’s Keeper," the filmmakers manage to paint a wrenching portrait of a family torn by one daughter’s battle with cancer and the conflict experienced by her sister—whom their parents had in order to supply bone marrow, a kidney, and stem cells.

The movie raises questions about genetic manipulation, a child’s freedom, parental rights, the right to receive or refuse medical treatment, and the limits of medicine’s ability to prolong life. The film does not paint over the realities of illness and death, and the story is still powerful enough to look for meaning in the other major theme—family relationships. But in the end, the complexity and depth of the characters suffer from the filmmakers’ attempt to resolve the whole story by affirming an individual’s right to control his or her own body.

One can’t help wondering what the filmmakers could have accomplished had they stepped further outside individual self-determinism.

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