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Kristin Scott Thomas,
Charles S. Dutton
A Portland couple have two children with Pompe disease, a genetic anomaly that kills most before a child's tenth birthday. The husband, John, an advertising executive, contacts Robert Stonehill, a researcher in Nebraska who has done innovative research for an enzyme treatment. He has little money to fund his laboratory, and a thorny personality that drives away colleagues and funders. John and his wife Aileen raise money to help Stonehill's research and the required clinical trials. John takes on the task full time, working with venture capitalists and then rival teams of researchers. Time is running short, Stonehill's angry outburst hinder the company's faith in him, and the profit motive may upend John's hopes. The researchers race against time for the children who have the disease. Written by
The real John Crowley has a cameo in the film as "Renzler Venture Capitalist #2". See more »
Stonehill puts up a sign that says "KEEP YOUR DAMN FOOD AND DRINK OUT OF MY REFRIDGERATOR!" (with "refrigerator" misspelled). See more »
[Looking at the college-aged kids hired to work under Dr. Stonehill]
These guys make me feel old.
Dr. Robert Stonehill:
Scientists get all sensible & careful when they get old. Young ones like risk, not afraid of new ideas... & you can pay 'em less.
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I remember when this came out it got a fair share of decent, if not spectacular, reviews from the critics. I was interested to see it, not only for that, but also to see how Brendan Fraser copes with a dramatic role, quite a departure for him. For the first part, the critics were right, to an extent, and for the second part well I tell you about that later. Here's a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don't wish to know anything about the plot please discover something brilliantly scientific while I write the next paragraph).
Advertising executive John Crowley and his wife, Aileen, have three children; John Jr., Patrick and Megan. Unfortunately both Patrick and Megan have Pompe disease, a genetic anomaly that kills most before a child's tenth birthday. As Megan nears her tenth birthday John and Aileen become more desperate. So much so that John tries to contact and eventually goes to see the scientist whose research shows the best promise, Dr. Robert Stonehill. Now Stonehill is not the easiest person to get along with, very focused on his work but John eventually gets him to listen. The main problem is funding but John sets up a charitable foundation to help raise money for the work. Stonehill then offers to set up a company with John to develop a cure for Pompe. So John quits his job and they set off on an uncertain path looking for funding for their new venture. A big risk for John because if he fails there is no hope for his kids.
I must say that this film put me in mind of the 1992 film Lorenzo's Oil starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. Unfortunately, it's not as good as that one. It's quite well made but I found the subject matter a bit dry. There are lots of meetings with either corporate or scientific jargon that, I'm sure, would be beyond the understanding of most viewers. The best thing about it is Harrison Ford as Dr. Robert Stonehill; it definitely improves when he's on screen. Brendan Fraser did OK as John Crowley, but more of him later. Also worth a mention are Keri Russell as Aileen Crowley, Meredith Droeger as Megan Crowley, Diego Velazquez as Patrick Crowley and Sam M. Hall as John Crowley Jr.
For a film that is supposed to be a heart-warming tale I'm afraid it missed the mark but some distance, for me. Brendan Fraser was OK in the scenes with the kids, and even in some of the scenes with Harrison Ford he did alright, but when he had to show any real emotion I felt he struggled. Maybe it's because he's played so many comedic roles, but I just wasn't convinced by him. Over all, the film isn't too great, but it's quite well made and Harrison Ford is pretty good, but not quite good enough to save it I'm afraid Not recommended.
My score: 5.1/10
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