Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | August 23, 2009

My Sister’s Keeper and Why Books’ Readers Should Be Kept Separate

I went to see My Sister’s Keeper yesterday and I loved the movie. I hadn’t cried during a movie since Braveheart and that came out in 1995, so you can conclude that I don’t cry very often. I did not read the book. My friend was reading it but she told me the movie was coming soon and that Cameron Diaz was going to be in it so I waited for the movie instead.

I usually avoid dramas. Especially dramas that include cancer-stricken people. Cancer is a horrible, horrible disease. It can happen to anyone. As life is problematic and painful as it is, I prefer to use movies as a way of avoiding reality, thank you very much. Sure, great stories are told in dramas: Friendships, families, love stories, tragedies…But again movies that talk about and show cancer….You get my point. But this movie has a plot that hooked me- the moment I heard about who Anna was and what she was trying to do, I knew I had to know the whole story.


Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) is a very smart 11-year-old. She has an older brother and sister, both teens. However she is different from them. Her older sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva)  has had cancer since she was very little. She would need transplants and blood and eventually a kidney from a perfect match. So her parents Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patrick)  make a tube-baby: genetically engineered to be Kate’s match. So since Anna has been “used” to help her sister since she was born, she decides to draw the line at losing her kidney. She goes to see a lawyer (Alec Baldwin) so that she can make her own medical decisions. Although she loves her sister very much, it doesn’t feel good to have had serious operations from day one. Her mother is furious- and as a former lawyer-she will fight at court, against her daughter and her lawyer to be able to save her other daughter…

The story is told in several point of views: Anna’s, Sara’s, Brian’s, Jesse’s (the brother), Kate’s and the lawyer’s.  It is hard to judge everyone when everyone seems to be right in their own right. Sara has let go of her career and everything else so she can take better care of Kate. Anna feels overwhelmed that if her sister hadn’t had cancer, she wouldn’t have been born and feels like her life means less. Jesse also seems to be drifting away…
Yeah, I cried. You have to see the movie to know what I mean. For a drama, it has an original plot and some good twists. The actors are really good. I am used to seeing Cameron more in comedies but she definitely can do an emotinally challenging role. Abigail and Sofia excel as the healthy and sick sisters.I like Alec Baldwin in small roles. Although he does seem to be playing the same person in different movies, I kow his lines are going to be interesting.
So as the credits are rolling and my friend and I are wiping off the tears, a guy comments on what a horrible movie it is. Now I had heard the same guy complain earlier but as the movie struck me completely and hear him comment again, loudly and rudely-all I can think is “What a jerk!What an insensitive jerk!”  I also wondered if we had seen the same movie. Of course he has the perfect excuse not to like it. He has read the book. He thinks that a lot has been left out. OK-now, that brings us back to the arguement we all have when a book adaptation comes out to theaters. Most readers will hate it, some will think it is OK and some will actually like it. And the people who haven’t read the book and liked the movie will argue that both art forms should be judged in their own merits. I have been there. I loved Cold Mountain the movie. After I tried to read the book and I was disappointed. I read John Grisham’s Runaway Jury. I absolutely hated the movie. I didn’t like John Cusack as the lead (normally I like him but he just wasn’t the Nick in my head.), I hated the script and the changes and went on about how I should be the one making Grisham adaptations…
So what I am suggesting is- maybe a little unrealistically but only half-jokingly- the people who have read the book should be in a different theater and others in a different one. This will prevent both sides from giving spoilers, fighting over what’s good or bad and so on. Oh, of course the forums will be waiting for the discussions. But at least experience itself- the duration of the movie will be shared by people who have similar expectations. So you won’t have to dry your tears next to someone who is shouting “What a disaster!”….


  1. hell yeah, i love dramas, and (it s unavoidable) wanna see this movie!

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