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A road accident leaves seven-year-old Frankie Heywood gravely injured and deeply comatose, when she is hit by a bus, and her twelve-year-old brother Ben severely depressed and traumatised after he witnessed the event. Their parents, Jack and Alison, have to put aside their fights over their unstable marriage to focus on their damaged children. But as life looks as if it will never improve for the Heywoods, Jack and Alison hear of a controversial medical therapy that could cajole Frankie from her coma. The treatment involves communicating with the comatose patient to coax them back to consciousness and Ben is the key to unlocking Frankie from her sleep. But will the Heywoods risk their son to save their daughter...? Written by
Jake and Fifi
An interesting film about coma and extreme alternative medicine
It was very difficult for me to get hold of a copy of this film and, although it wasn't quite up to the standards of the novel that it is based upon, I do think it was worth the effort hunting it down.
The film starts with the Heywood children-- seven-year-old Frankie and twelve-year-old Ben-- walking to school one morning. Ben is distracted and, when takes his eye off his sister for just a moment, she is knocked down by a car leaving her in a deep coma. The children's troubled parents Alison and Jack have to put aside their marital problems to support their guilt-stricken son and very sick daughter. But when the medical professionals have given up on Frankie ever recovering, the Heywoods hear of a controversial coma therapy being conducted in Canada and they decide it is a risk worth taking if they are to help their children.
Andy Garcia plays Jack Heywood and gives a decent performance as a worried father unsure of what to do in such terrible circumstances, although it seemed at times he had problems deciding which accent he should be using. Angela Bassett, as the doctor who developed the treatment, also gave an effective depiction in her role of a physician determined to do what's right even if it is risky but also a woman haunted by her own past. However, it was Harry Eden, in his role as Ben, who stood out in the cast. He is an excellent young actor able to inject the right amount of emotion into his character in a manner that truly touches the audience.
While the film is not as good as the book in giving a deeper insight into the adult characters and the pain of watching a child in such precarious health with little hope of regaining consciousness, 'The Lazarus Child' was an interesting film that covered issues such as guilt, loss, grief and sacrifice. It also nicely touches upon where the mind might go when one is in a coma and, above all, the question of whether there is a point where doctors have to let go of science and embrace more metaphysical techniques in treating patients.
It isn't a big budget film but it is one worth seeing for those looking for something a bit different.
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