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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017)

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An African-American woman becomes an unwitting pioneer for medical breakthroughs when her cells are used to create the first immortal human cell line in the early 1950s.


George C. Wolfe


Rebecca Skloot (based on the book written by), Peter Landesman (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
3,372 ( 64)
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Renée Elise Goldsberry ... Henrietta Lacks
Sylvia Grace Crim ... Mary Kubick
Reed Birney ... Dr. George Gey
Karen Wheeling Reynolds ... Mrs. Margaret Gey (as Karen Reynolds)
John C. Vennema ... Board Administrator
Chasiti Ferrell Chasiti Ferrell ... Baby Deborah
Chelsea Ferrell Chelsea Ferrell ... Baby Deborah
Rose Byrne ... Rebecca Skloot
Ruben Santiago-Hudson ... Dr. Roland Pattillo
Oprah Winfrey ... Deborah Lacks
Jaedon Godley Jaedon Godley ... Davon
Rocky Carroll ... Sonny Lacks
John Douglas Thompson John Douglas Thompson ... Lawrence Lacks
Roger Robinson ... Day Lacks
Adriane Lenox ... Barbara Lacks


An African-American woman becomes an unwitting pioneer for medical breakthroughs when her cells are used to create the first immortal human cell line in the early 1950s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Discover what you are made of See more »



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

22 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida Imortal de Henrietta Lacks See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Reg E. Cathey who plays Zachariyya, also portrayed a character in The Wire, which took place in Baltimore, Maryland, same as this movie. HBO also produced The Wire. See more »


Features Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) See more »


Living in the Alley
Written by Anthony Boston
Performed by Miss Tony
Courtesy of High Rolla Records
By arrangement with Diamond K
See more »

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User Reviews

What a disappointment
23 June 2017 | by msbehavin_bratSee all my reviews

I was so excited to see this movie, as the book has been on my list to read for awhile. I had not gotten around to reading the book prior to seeing the movie & perhaps that would have helped?

The movie is disjointed & makes little sense. It is primarily about Henrietta's daughter & her relationship with the book's author. I was okay with that, but characters were never explained & many decisions in the film & dialogue made no sense b/c the story wasn't flushed out enough to understand the importance of the choices or dialogue. For example the "talk to the men" theme is made a big deal of in the beginning. It's repeated several times. It's never explained though. Why were they insistent that Skloot could only talk to the men. It came from several characters, but then most of the movie is spent NOT talking to the men. It never made any sense. Some character's behavior was not explained until almost the end of the film, which really hurt the viewer's ability to empathize & warm to the characters.

It was such a shame as there were many great actors who performed well, but ultimately the lack of background info & poor choices, made this movie a mess. I had such high hopes :-( I'm still looking fwd to reading the book, maybe that will fill in the huge gaps of the movie. You won't miss much if you skip this one!

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