Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.
Strait-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.
In Los Angeles, the eleven year old Anna Fitzgerald seeks the successful lawyer Campbell Alexander trying to hire him to earn medical emancipation from her mother Sara that wants Anna to donate her kidney to her sister. She tells the lawyer the story of her family after the discovery that her older sister Kate has had leukemia; how she was conceived by in vitro fertilization to become a donor; and the medical procedures she has been submitted since she was five years old to donate to her sister. Campbell accepts to work pro bono and the obsessed Sara decides to go to court to force Anna to help her sister. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning were originally set to play Anna and Kate Fitzgerald, but bowed out after Dakota reportedly refused to shave her head, as required for the part. See more »
At one point in the movie, instead of being called by the fictional name Kate, she is called by her actual name, Sofia. See more »
Andromeda 'Anna' Fitzgerald:
When I was a kid, my mother told me that I was a little piece of blue sky that came into this world because she and Dad loved me so much. It was only later that I realized that it wasn't exactly true. Most babies are coincidences. I mean, up in space you've got all these souls flying around looking for bodies to live in. Then, down here on Earth, two people have sex or whatever, and bam, coincidence. Sure, you hear all these stories about how everyone plans these perfect families. ...
[...] See more »
Is there anything that can really be criticized about this movie? I know that some people are upset that the movie's ending is substantially different from that of the book on which this was based, but I've never read the book - so I don't care. I have to judge this movie on its own merits, and it's absolutely brilliant - the story, the acting, the writing. The movie offers the viewer an ethical dilemma. Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) is dying of leukemia. When she was first diagnosed, her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) decided to have another child (Anna, played by Abigail Breslin) in the hopes that her placental blood would help cure the condition. Instead, it simply adds years on to her life, as she slowly declines and Anna becomes a more and more unwilling yet repeated donor of blood, bone marrow and - as the movie picks up the story - now a kidney. To prevent it, and knowing that it will mean Kate's death, Anna hires a lawyer to sue her parents for "medical emancipation" - the right to make her own medical decisions.
Although moving, this wasn't as much of a tear jerker as I thought it would be. Instead, it does focus on that ethical dilemma from a variety of perspectives, primarily raising the question of whether one daughter's life should take precedence over the other's quality of life. Cameron Diaz was fantastic in a role that, as the movie began, I didn't really think would fit her very well. Instead, she was totally convincing as the mother in denial. She can't accept that Kate is dying; she can't accept that Kate is tired of living; she can't accept that Anna is tired of being Kate's only lifeline; she can't accept that her own family is increasingly turning against her views on this. She has two daughters - one who needs to be told that it's OK to die, and one that needs to be told that it's OK to live, and she can't meet the needs of either. We see where the movie is heading almost from the beginning, which is one of the complaints of those who loved the book - it had a surprise, "twist" ending apparently, as opposed to the predictable ending in this one. The problem with "twist" endings, though, is that they can seem artificial and unreal. The movie's ending
while predictable - was also powerfully real, as is the movie as a
whole. I was truly surprised by how much of a chord it struck in me. 10/10
12 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?