MY SISTER'S KEEPER
Nihilistic Thoughts Without God
Release Date: June 26, 2009
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Sofia
Vassilieva, Abigail Breslin,
Jason Patric, Evan Ellingson,
Alec Baldwin, Thomas Dekker,
Joan Cusack, Heather
Wahlquist, and David Thornton
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Executive Producer: Diana Pokorny, Stephen Furst,
Mendel Tropper, Toby Emmerich,
Merideth Finn, and Mark
Producer: Mark Johnson, Chuck Pacheca
and Scott L. Goldman
Writer: Nick Cassavetes and Jeremy
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Alan Horn, President/COO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
Narrated by several of the main characters, the story begins with 11-year-old Anna telling viewers how her parents, Sara and Brian Fitzgerald, conceived her in a test tube to save their daughter Kate’s life. Kate’s life depends on Anna, because Kate has leukemia.
Sadly, despite a bone marrow transplant and other medical procedures from Anna, Kate’s leukemia has gone out of remission, and her kidneys are now failing. With help from her brother Jesse, Anna goes to a lawyer to become “medically emancipated” from her parents, because Anna does not want to donate the kidney to Kate.
Anna’s decision causes a furor in the Fitzgerald household. The movie then uses flashbacks to show how the situation got to this point. As it brings viewers up to speed, the story shows what happens in the wake of Anna’s decision to sue her parents.
Moviegoers will be greatly touched sometimes by this story of a desperate family facing a deadly illness. Despite Anna’s lawsuit, MY SISTER’S KEEPER contains many positive scenes of family love and togetherness through tragedy. Regrettably, however, a nihilistic tone, including one overt nihilistic statement, undercuts the movie’s references to death or religion. Eventually, the movie overtly suggests that there is no ultimate meaning to life or death. Worse, it even does this during one scene when the song “Amazing Grace” is played. Furthermore, none of the family members prays to God or Jesus about their situation, despite some oblique references to Heaven and a minor written reference to a “guardian angel” watching over Kate.
MOVIEGUIDE® realizes that not all stories have to have a completely happy ending. In the end, however, MY SISTER’S KEEPER is more depressing than inspiring, and its humanist ending is stifling.
Death comes to us all, but some of us face death much earlier than others. Even when that tragically happens, however, we can look with hope to God. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:56-58, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” That may be very hard to do in the midst of great tragedy, but life is not worth living with no hope and no joy whatsoever. Even in tragedy, we should be grateful for every moment of life and every blessing, however minor, that God has given us, remembering always that death is not the worst thing that can happen to us. In reality, living without God is the worst thing that can happen to us. Because, without God, there is no life and there is no true blessing, and hope is just a mirage, a convenient delusion to which only fools will cling.
Moviegoers will be greatly touched sometimes by this story. Despite Anna’s lawsuit, MY SISTER’S KEEPER contains several positive scenes of family love and togetherness facing tragedy. Regrettably, a nihilistic tone, including one overt nihilistic statement, undercuts the movie’s references to religion and its pro-family message. In the end, MY SISTER’S KEEPER is more depressing than inspiring, and its humanist ending is stifling.