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My Sister's Keeper

Theatrical film poster
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Produced by Curmudgeon Films
Written by Novel:
Jodi Picoult
Jeremy Leven
Starring Cameron Diaz
Abigail Breslin
Sofia Vassilieva
Alec Baldwin
Jason Patric
Thomas Dekker
Emily Deschanel
Joan Cusack
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Editing by Jim Flynn
Alan Heim
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) June 26, 2009 (2009-06-26)
Running time 109 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget US $30 million
Gross revenue $78,771,734 (worldwide)

My Sister's Keeper is a 2009 American drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, and Alec Baldwin. Based on Jodi Picoult's novel of the same name with screenplay adaptation by Jeremy Leven, the film tells the story of one family's struggle to cope with a serious disease of one of its members while presenting viewpoints from each family member.[1] My Sister's Keeper was released in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom on June 26, 2009.



Conceived by means of in vitro fertilization, Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) was brought into the world to be a genetic match for her older sister, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who suffers from acute promyelocytic leukemia in order to keep her alive. Her family members are introduced one by one and each tell about how Kate's illness has affected them personally and the family. When Kate turns 15, she goes into renal failure. Anna knows that she will be forced by her parents to donate a kidney. She also knows that, if she does donate a kidney, she will be unable to live the life she wants; she will no longer be able to take part in activities such as cheerleading and soccer, or be a mother. Not wanting any of this, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and the rights to her own body. Her overprotective mother, Sara (Cameron Diaz) is indignant at Anna's decision and even strikes her across the face when she receives the notice of intended prosecution. Attorney Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin) agrees to work for Anna as her guardian ad litem, suing for partial termination of parental rights. It is later learned he agreed to take the case not for the notoriety, but because he has epilepsy and understands her predicament of not having control over one's own body.

The film is interlaced with flashbacks that detail Kate and Anna's closeness, as well as how Kate's illness has affected her siblings' lives and their relationships. In a flashback, Kate also meets a fellow cancer patient, Taylor Ambrose (Thomas Dekker), who she begins dating. After a date, they share their first kiss outside Kate's house, with Sara and Brian watching from their bedroom window. After this, he becomes her boyfriend in and out of hospital and supports her as she undergoes treatment. He then asks her to the hospital's "prom" for patients-- there, they slow-dance, then proceed to make love in a vacant hospital room. A few days later, Kate is crying because Taylor hasn't called her for several days. Her mother Sara, furious when Kate mentions that they "did it" and storms out to ask the nurse where Taylor is, obviously intending to confront him and learns that he has died.

To Sara's dismay, the judge (Joan Cusack), Judge de Salvo, refuses to grant summary dismissal, and the case goes to a hearing. During the hearing, Anna and Kate's older brother, Jesse, unable to get Anna to admit it, reveals that Anna is actually acting under Kate's instruction; Kate has no confidence in another operation and would rather be allowed to die peacefully, and since Sara refuses to budge in her desire to keep her alive, she had secretly urged Anna to file for medical emancipation, and refuse to donate a kidney. At around the same time, Kate makes a request to go to the beach one last time, and Brian, her father, obtains permission from her doctor and removes her from the hospital to take her and the kids. Overprotective as ever, Sara is furious when Brian shows up at the house with Kate and demands she be returned to the hospital. Brian angrily refuses and drives off, threatening Sara with a divorce if she does not join them. Sara later shows up at the beach, where they enjoy one final family outing. Before the case is settled, Kate dies in her sleep at the hospital with her mother by her side. After Kate's death, Campbell brings the court decision – Anna won the case. The family moves on with their lives, being changed by Kate's death, but every year on Kate's birthday they go to Montana, which was her "most favorite place in the world".


Differences between film and novel

The main difference in the adaptation is the ending. In the novel, Anna wins her court case against her parents thus granting her medical emancipation, but she is involved in a car accident that leaves her brain dead. With Anna unable to make decisions about her body, her lawyer, Campbell Alexander, who was given medical power of attorney, thus giving him the power to make medical decisions concerning Anna, gives permission to have Anna's organs donated. Anna dies, but Kate lives on, believing that Anna took her place in heaven. In the film, Kate dies of leukemia and then Anna is told by her lawyer that she won her case. In both the film and the novel, Anna sues her parents only because Kate doesn't want to live on, and she is sick of making her family, and most of all Anna, suffer.

In the book, the story of the romance between Kate and Taylor is a brief flashback told in a single chapter; while it forms a major subplot in the film version. Also, in the novel, their relationship does not extend beyond kissing, unlike the movie where their lovemaking sparks a conflict between Sara and Kate.

In addition, the film omits the character Julia, and in turn the entire romantic subplot between Campbell and Julia; which in turn downplays the role of Alexander's service dog Judge.

In the movie, Anna is eleven and Kate is fourteen, while in the novel, Anna is thirteen and Kate is sixteen.

In the movie, Judge De Salvo is a female, in the book Judge De Salvo is a male. Julia Romano is the guardian ad litem in the novel, but this is cut in the movie.

During the movie's epilogue, it says that Jesse went back to school and in turn got an art scholarship to New York, whereas in the book he joins the police force as a drug bust. The movie takes place in Los Angeles, not the original Rhode Island.

Two additional subplots are also removed: Jesse's role as a delinquent and the string of fires that he causes (in the movie he has a problem at school due to dyslexia and is shown to spend much of his time alone out of the house when the family has to watch over Kate; also, he is a good artist), and the other involving Brian's fascination with stars, which serves as a subplot to explain Anna's full name, Andromeda; this is also cut.

As a whole, the film is more focused on Kate's memories, using the scrapbook she makes for her mother, than on Anna, who is a more prominent protagonist in the novel.



Critical response

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 47% of reviews for the film were positive, based on 126 reviews.[2] another aggregate review site Metacritic reported 51% positive reviews based on 28 reviews.[3].

Box office

In its opening weekend it placed 5th with a total of $12,442,212, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Proposal (second weekend), The Hangover (fourth weekend), and Up (fifth weekend).[4] The film left theatres on October 8, 2009 with a domestic total of $49,200,230 with a further $46,459,927 from foreign markets. It has grossed $95,660,157 worldwide .[5]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2009 Teen Choice Award Choice Summer Movie Drama My Sister's Keeper Won[6]


Trailer :

TV Spot :



External links


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