Expect the unexpected in My Sister’s Keeper

By Adrianne Munz

Eagle Post Staff


Those who have read Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and are planning on seeing the movie version should be prepared for waterworks and disappointment.

            Out of a girl’s battle against leukemia and her family’s struggle to keep it in remission comes the story of her parents’ decision to have another child through artificial insemination so that that child would be genetically compatible to the sister.

            This much remains the same between director Nick Cassavetes’ film and the literary version. However, what differs is perhaps the most defining aspect of Picoult’s novel.

            With an unforeseen twist at the novel’s conclusion, Picoult evokes feelings of shock and disbelief within the reader.

            Ironically, the movie version evokes the same emotions from novel fans. Concluding with an event that is completely opposite of that of the novel’s, readers will experience shock and disbelief from the poor adaptation of the novel’s end, which, in many viewers’ eyes, ruined the film.

            A heartbreaking story overall, tears are only to be expected at the on-screen version. While the casting of Cameron Diaz as the mother came as shock to many, Diaz stepped out of her traditional role as a comedic actress. Not at all surprising is the casting of Abigail Breslin, the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, as the defiant daughter who sues her parents. Playing the role of Breslin’s ill sister is Sofia Vassilieva, who impeccably depicts how one’s illness can affect a family. With upstanding performances from adult and child actors alike, viewers will find themselves sharing the family’s pain.   

            However, that pain relentlessly endures throughout the movie’s 1 hour 46 minute running time though and leaves the reader feeling emotionally exhausted by the movie’s end, an aspect that is not endorsed by Picoult’s novel.

            Fans of Picoult should know to expect the unexpected in her literary works. Apparently Cassavetes is among fans.


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January 2010
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