The Lazarus Child (2005) Poster

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An interesting film about coma and extreme alternative medicine
Mel J24 October 2006
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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Great movie!!!
jim_smith30011 November 2004
I also saw this film at a free screening with a friend. I thought that it had soul. Yes they tried to make it an action film but it still worked....mainly because of some great performances by the boy played by Harry Eden, Alison Heywood played by Frances O'Connor and Elizabeth Chase played by Angelia Bassett. Although the script was flawed and the music was not appropriate the film was a very interesting comment on our relationships with our family and our friends.

What would you do if you lost a family member to a coma?

You would probably stop at nothing to try to bring them out. I think that that was who the Elizabeth Chase character was - a person who would go the distance to get the little girl out of a bad situation. Her character brought hope to the Heywood family in a time of no hope. They had nowhere to turn. On top of that the private clinic they go to in is shut down by the Police. A bad situation when you are desperately in need of help....

I thought that the film looked great as well. The director of photography (Lukas Strebel) did a great job.

Basically this was another Ron Bass script that needed some work but was pulled out the "Not great" category by some good directing and strong performances.

See it in the cinema for the wide screen format. It will not transfer to video well....unless you have a 50" gas plasma screen. :-)
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Tastefully shot and produced, even though the ending was predictably "all's well that ends well"
rugles212 April 2006
I saw Lazurus Child on HBO last week and one week later, I am still impressed enough to write this review about it. At first, I was about to channel-switch as I thought it was another "Hallmark channel" type of feel-good movie when I was game for some mindless action flick. As the movie developed, I was slowly riveted.

The scene that captured me most was when the doctors tried to test if Frankie (the comatose little girl) could breathe on her own without life support. The intensity and anxiety was palpable, although I was unsure of the plot still. I even thought it was some kind of horror movie, because there were the eerie parts when the brother (Harry Eden) visited his sister in the hospital for the first time and his dog stick/staff thing was flung to the floor for no apparent reason or when he kept switching on/off the table lamp and hallucinating that his little sis was sitting in a chair with him in the room. The plot was only clear when Dr. Elizabeth Chase (Angela Bassett) was introduced and what kind of medical research she specialises in.

Acting-wise, Andy Garcia and Frances O'Connor seem to play supporting roles vis-a-vis the young boy in the role as their son. He was the highlight of the movie for me, and in my honest opinion, he's better than Haley Joel Osment. That's saying a lot because I do like the Osment boy too. The only disconcerting part of the movie for me was why Dr. Chase chose to stay behind in the 'room' - it seemed quite out of line for me because I thought she went into hypnosis so that she could bring them out as she knew they didn't know the way out.
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Wait for the video
alston32614 September 2004
This movie was very slow and unbelievable. The only reason I went to see it is because it was a free screening and one of my favorite actors, Andy Garcia, was in it. Basically, there were many problems with the film. When the little girl was in a coma and the doctor, played by Angela Bassett, sends her brother in to "bring her back", it was a bit far-fetched for the doctor to go in after them by way of hypnosis when the little girl was in a coma and the boy was perfectly healthy. Hmmm.....There were only a couple of spots where it got exciting. One was when the boy jumped into the sea because he was hallucinating about his sister and the other was when the boy got out of control in the hospital. The little boy was a phenomenal actor. I hope he gets more work.
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Very Touching
the_mole_847220 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I just managed to secure a copy of this film from a friend in Greece and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't wait for it to be released in the UK so I can watch it on the big screens of the cinema.

Having read so much about the film since its completion in 2003, I have eagerly wanted to see it. It is a tale of love and loss. When Frankie Haywood (Daniella Byrne) is run over whilst on the way to school, her brother Ben (Harry Eden) blames himself. Three month on, she is still in a coma and the only chance of recovery is a form of new treatment that is still in the experimental stage.

This film is well filmed and the story line is extremely touching. Andy Garcia is excellent in his role as Ben and Frankie's dad. But once again, I feel the show was stolen by young Harry Eden's performance as he decides to under go hypnosis and enter his sisters mind to help guide her back to consciousness.

A great film, well worth watching.
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An emotional thriller of Life
Thomas Williams31 January 2006
It doesn't strike me odd, that some may find this movie incredibly boring, while others find it incredibly giving.

I guess you have to be one of those, who has been gifted with an experience of true love and a deeper realization of one self, to really open up towards this sort of movie. I feel the director has chosen an open approach very close to reality, when choosing to focus on the emotional drama within each of the characters in the movie.

The director neither forgets to characterize the drama between the realm of the physical science world towards the emotional world - the drama which even to this day separates the therapists from the doctors.

While some directors choose to focus on the drama itself, I find this movie very interesting in the perspective of what is going on in the life of each individual - "You only see, what you wanna see", is so true, that it cannot be spelled often enough. The point is, that the director is NOT one of those spoiling the entire movie, by making everyone think and feel the same.

Everyone has their own version of their story, but the truly amazing part of the movie, is to show how each of us fight to survive the stories of our past, and to forgive ourselves the actions we can no longer change - we can still change how we choose to feel about our past - creating a lighter path for ourselves, and help each other understand that we are all connected, even though we may feel scared, struggling and cutoff from our reality.

Often these sort of dramas get carried away in the event of unhappiness and grief (where often some Christian God is involved). I am amazed how the director actually manages to turn away from such cliché's and focus on the will of recovering and reopening from various individual setbacks.

While our human life is a lot about doing and handling in this world, we shall not forget that is is always the feelings which drive us to our doings - not opposite. The director seems very aware of this, and I thank the creators for making a movie of those, that makes the heart beat much lighter.
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Disappointingly Lacklustre
sddavis639 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was expecting this to be a pretty good movie. It seemed to have a pretty solid cast (headed by Angela Bassett and Andy Garcia) and an interesting story, vaguely bordering on the supernatural, about a doctor (played by Bassett) who develops an experimental treatment to try to bring children out of comas. In the end, though, the movie disappointed me. The performances - especially that of Bassett - came across to me as somewhat forced, and there was too much of a lead-in to this. The drama of the story is about the parents of young Frankie, who's in a coma after being hit by a car, taking her - against their own doctor's wishes - to Dr. Chase to receive this controversial treatment, but it takes forever to get there, and a great deal of what we watch in the lead-up isn't particularly interesting. Then there is that vaguely hinted at supernatural element. You expect that to be there. You wait for it. Then, in the end, it doesn't appear. Instead, we get a brief, speculative glimpse of what's going on in the mind of a child in a coma, and then we simply move very quickly into the requisite happy ending. Frankie wakes up, and Dr. Chase also gets helpfully healed of her own inner demons, that revolve around the death of her younger brother many years before. Based on what I saw here, there might have been enough meat to the story to make a half hour episode of "The Twilight Zone" - but a 90-minute movie? I don't think so. 3/10
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