FILM-MAKING is all about taking risks.
But making a film about a child dying of a rare form of leukaemia and the parents' decision to manufacture another child, genetically engineered to match the sick child, could have gone so badly.
My Sister’s Keeper is the latest movie from the director of the Notebook and is based on the best-selling novel by Jodi Piccoult.
For your chance to win a double pass to see My Sister’s Keeper, simply tell us in 20 words or less about your favourite Cameron Diaz movie.
Starring Cameron Diaz and Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), Academy Award nominee Alec Baldwin (The Cooler), Jason Patrick and Sofia Vassilieva (Medium), My Sister’s Keeper is a movie that shouldn't be missed.
Diaz portrays Sara Fitzgerald - a mother who has just given birth to Kate. She and her husband Brian (Patrick) rejoice over their new baby girl. But joy turns to fear when their beloved child is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Kate’s health becomes the fulcrum of the family, which culminates in the birth of her sister Anna.
But Anna isn’t just another welcome addition. She's a necessity, conceived as a perfect genetic match, specifically designed to save Kate’s life.
However, at the age of 11, and when Kate requires a kidney transplant to keep her alive, Anna decides that she no longer wishes to subject herself and her body to the operations required to keep her sister alive and so decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation.
"It comes straight at you," Cameron says.
"But what's wonderful about it is that it is about the entire family. It's not just about a dying child, it's about all the sacrifices that every family member has to make in these circumstances when you have somebody who has an illness or has special needs, everyone in the family's energy goes towards that person's survival and their needs and I think that that is really well depicted in this film."
The ensuing events make a stirring, moving and often beautiful film that gives each of the actors in the film their moment to shine. But for Diaz, the most spectacular performances come from the three young actors.
"They are my heroes," she said.
"Sofia was so brave at 15 to shave her head and eyebrows.
"It is such a formidable time in her development, at 15 girls ... their hair is everything that says who they are, we spend how many hours of our lives taking care of our hair as teenagers and she shaved it all off. That was so incredibly brave and she is unbelievable, she is wise beyond her years and so gracious and elegant and beautiful and smart and so talented, so to work with her was such a wonderful experience.
"Abigail has this strength in her, she is so powerful she holds so much depth in her and really effortlessly brings it forward in such a subtle way that is really impactful and Evan was fantastic. He did such a great job playing the brother who is sort of the lost brother."
But for Cameron Diaz fans, the true surprise is going to be seeing her in a role that is a far cry from the glamazon we were first introduced to in The Mask in 1994 and a role that has none of the comedy that we are familiar with from films like There's Something About Mary or Charlie's Angels.
As the matriarch of the Fitzgerald family, Sara makes the decisions that guide the family, that guide their decision to manufacture a spare parts baby, and guide their decisions that keep Kate alive. But while the role was certainly a challenge for the talented actress, getting into the headspace of the controlling yet loving mother was not hard to achieve.
"I think that it was so straightforward," she said.
"This was a woman whose daughter is dying and when I started talking to people - parents in particular - about what they would do in this situation everyone said the same thing - you don't let your child die, no matter what it is you have to bring yourself to do, or decisions you have to make, all of them have to be based on your child living.
"That was easy to understand because I know what it is like to love someone and to have people in my life I love enough to do anything for and I would want whatever it would take to keep them alive."
Although several of Picoult’s books have been adapted for television, My Sister’s Keeper marks the first time her work will be brought to the big screen.
Opening nationally on July 30, the movie is sure to be popular with Australian audiences - and you can be one of the first to see it. But don't take our word for it - take Cameron's.
"If you want to go and feel something, if you want to go to the movies and have an experience and if you need a good cry then go see this film," she said.
"I think it's also a film that helps you appreciate your life. It's a nice thing to be reminded of all the wonderful things that life is."
Watch the movie trailer.
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