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.