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The Russell Girl (2008)

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Sarah Russell, a 23-year-old aspiring medical school student, visits her family to share some important news but instead finds herself confronting a difficult period from her past.


Jeff Bleckner



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Amber Tamblyn ... Sarah Russell
Jennifer Ehle ... Lorainne Morrissey
Henry Czerny ... Howard Morrisey
Paul Wesley ... Evan Carroll
Tim DeKay ... Tim Russell
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Gayle Russell
Daniel Clark ... Daniel Russell
Ben Lewis ... Jon Morrissey
Max Morrow ... Rick Morrissey
Richard Leacock ... Dr. Gordon
Richard Fitzpatrick ... Ray
Rebecca Dreiling Rebecca Dreiling ... Karaoke Girl
Max MacBride Max MacBride ... Young Jon
William Cuddy William Cuddy ... Young Rick
Paula Barrett Paula Barrett ... Fran


Sarah Russell, a 23-year-old aspiring medical school student, visits her family to share some important news but instead finds herself confronting a difficult period from her past.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

female protagonist | See All (1) »










Release Date:

27 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Russell Girl (#57.2) See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was Daniel Clark's final acting appearance. See more »


In town having lunch - she left without paying. See more »


Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Somewhat depressing but still a quality production
31 January 2008 | by vchimpanzeeSee all my reviews

If the news is not good ...

Of COURSE the news isn't good. This is a Hallmark Hall of Fame production.

Sarah Russell is a buyer for Macy's in Chicago. She wanted to go to medical school, but so far she has not been accepted anywhere. But now she may not get the chance to go to medical school anyway. She has Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and while it can be treated, she needs to act quickly.

Sarah goes home, since she has vacation time coming. Once she has returned to her hometown, she meets former boyfriend Evan, who works at his father's gas station. Evan is actually an investment banker in Dallas, but when his father had a stroke, he had to come home temporarily to help out, doing what he could in his other job by means of technology. After a minor accident, Sarah has an excuse to spend time with Evan, who can do the necessary repairs to her car.

When Sarah returns to her parents' house, Lorraine from across the street sees her, goes inside and tells her husband "The Russell Girl" is back, in a tone that makes it appear Sarah was part of some scandal years ago. Lorraine, who restores furniture and related items, soon becomes depressed and bitter, and almost incapable of functioning because of migraines. She won't even watch her teenage son playing in an important baseball game.

Sarah's parents are happy to see her, and they have a telephone message she believes they would rather not have heard. No, it's not that. She actually has been accepted to Northwestern's medical school. Sarah can't give them the bad news now. There may be more to her refusal to say anything, though.

The movie has important messages about forgiveness and dealing with guilt. Amber Tamblyn and Jennifer Ehle both give superior performances. Ehle has the greater challenge because of her wide range of moods, but she also delivers some unexpected moments. Tamblyn also has to show a wide range. Fortunately, a movie that could have been quite depressing has some pleasant moments and even some humor. For example, the girl at the karaoke bar would never make it past Simon Cowell.

Young children may be upset by one scene (although the references to cancer would be enough to discourage them anyway), but the event is critical and only implied (the tragic result is mentioned explicitly several times). Brief flashbacks, and one longer one, look like a World Book Encyclopedia illustration of one type of color blindness. It is the long flashback that is the key to the whole movie.

It was worthy of the name Hallmark.

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