Category: Hollywood

My Sister’s Keeper

MDH and I decided to spend the Diwali weekend in Mumbai. Not for celebrations but just to be with our respective moms. My mum was coping with the loss of her mother 3 weeks back and MDH’s mother had undergone a laser operation for her Varicose veins treatment.

So this time around I decided to not call anyone – friends and relatives and just spend the time with mumma and my mom-in-law.

On my way to Mumbai I watched the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. I wanted to see this movie ever since it was released but somehow did not get the chance to see it. I knew the plot and was in two minds if I needed to see a movie about death when all I wanted to do was take that very word out of my mind.

My Sister’s Keeper is the story about the Fitzgerald family – Brian & Sara and their 3 kids – Jesse, Kate and Anna. Kate is diagnosed with ‘Acute promyelocytic leukaemia’ (Cancer of the blood and bone marrow) at a tender age of 3. None of the family members are a match and she needs a constant supply of blood cells and bone marrow. Anna is then conceived through in-vitro fertilization to be a perfect genetic match as Kate’s donor all her life.

Kate is 15 and Anna is 11 when Kate experiences renal failure and is critical. Anna now needs to donate her kidney to Kate. However she heads straight to the famous lawyer Campbell (Alec Baldwin) to file a suit against her parents seeking emancipation of her own body. Sara is distraught and cannot understand Anna’s behaviour.

As the film moves ahead it shows how Sara quit everything – her job as a lawyer and being a mother to her other 2 kids – to shower her entire attention on getting Kate to be better. Many a times Brian tries to tell her but she has turned a deaf ear to one and all and refuses to accept that Kate’s is a terminal case and that she will die sooner or later.

Blinded by her love for the cancer-stricken Kate, she turns a blind eye to her son Jesse who is dyslexic and needs his parents too, and also to Anna – who despite being the perfect girl, feels used and brought in only for a purpose that is to save Kate.

The three kids however share a lovely bond with each other despite the obvious biases of their mother. Anna and Kate discuss all things under the sun including Kate’s first kiss with her boyfriend Taylor whom she meets at cancer clinic, Kate’s insecurities on never being able to look pretty again, and on not being able to lead a normal life.

Even when she is not allowed to step out of the hospital, Brian, Anna and Jesse sneak Kate out for one last family outing at the beach, which is Kate’s favourite place. Sara resists but joins in later.

Anna stands stoic through all of Kate’s pains and never leaves her sister’s side even once. It is this very fact that plants a doubt in the viewer’s mind as to why would this loving sis not sacrifice unless her sister does not want her to.

Brian understands Anna’s predicament while Sara dawns her lawyer shoes to defend the case. Anna pleads for a normal life which she will not be able to enjoy if she gives up her kidney and there is no assurance that Kate will survive too. However, it is Jesse who finally breaks down while Anna continues to be strong. Jesse gives away in the courtroom about Kate’s wish which has everybody in a shock, especially Sara.

Sara realizes that she is the only one who is not ready to let Kate go whereas Brian, Anna and Jesse are ready; for they know that Kate will be at peace, and that is what matters to them most. They have accepted but Sara has not; although Kate had tried telling her in many ways before as Brian points out.

Kate finally lets go. In her memory, the Fitzgerald family meets every year at the same beach on her birthday.

The movie is brilliant – it touches the right chord, it does not glorify Kate’s illness, it does not get melodramatic, the plot, the acting is subtle just as it would happen in our daily lives. The dialogues are simple and touch your heart especially the ones between Anna and Kate & Brian and Kate.

Abigail Breslin steals the show. She is my favourite child-star along with Dakota Fanning and Anna Paquin (Both are no longer child-stars). She is a natural in front of camera. And if you want to see more of her do catch ‘Raising Helen’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘Definitely Maybe’. She is a delight to watch and the innocence she oozes in her performances is addictive.

Cameron Diaz delivers a stellar performance but having read the review she got I still feel that Kate and Anna overshadow her completely. When the movie ends what stays with you are their heartfelt performances more than Sara’s outbursts.

Why I liked My Sister’s Keeper a lot is probably cause of the state of my mind then. I too was trying to cope up with the death of a beloved and struggling to help my mother get out of it.

My Sister’s Keeper tells us to first make peace with ourselves and then make a choice with our life. Not everyone is going to be happy with the choices we make but they will accept it sooner or later and see the reason behind it. Sara finally saw that Kate wanted to be free, and make Sara free to love Anna and Jesse who had been ignored due to Kate’s illness.

The movie is all about love – between sisters, between a mother and daughter, between a husband and wife – the one bond – the love that binds a family together!

P.S: The soundtrack is delightful and reminds you of the one from My Best Friend’s Wedding where every song was apt to the scene and melodious to the hilt!

In awe of the Dark Knight

Super heroes to me are the secret desires of every common man. The powers we secretly wished for, the things we wanted to do, the help we wanted to give, the fears we wanted to conquer, the risks we wanted to take!

Their creators are common men who put in everything to make them achieve what we could not; perhaps that is the reason why they are so popular in comics, in television serials and in movies. People want to re-write their stories and we yearn for some more to come.

But, often the creators forget to bring in the reality of life; that life is not always fair, even to the blessed ones. We have often tried to escape this harsh truth and Chris Nolan hits you in the face with this truth alone.
With greatness come hidden truths and hidden tragedies, which we fail to see or we do not want to see. Nolan in his outstanding depiction of the Batman Story depicts this thought to a tee.

The Dark Knight is not your typical super hero movie. X-men had a few deaths and Spiderman-3 tried to tread into the grey areas, even Harry Potter got darker in the later books but they did not hit the viewer hard with such a harsh dose of life’s reality!

I’m not sure the The Dark Knight is for kids viewing. I’m not sure they will appreciate the somber mood which shadows the film throughout. But if you have enjoyed Batman Begins, then you will probably love this one.

Gotham is cursed with endless crimes, desperation and poverty. Gordon, Harvey Kent, Rachael Dawes, Bruce Wayne fighting their own battles to make this a better place. Just when they are succeeding they hit upon Joker. A criminal whose sole aim is to create chaos! He craves no money, he craves no fame; he only craves for chaos and a world without rules.

He is unpredictable, not even the great batman can predict his next move and that is exactly why he supersedes all villains till date! Heath Ledger makes the Joker immortal! This one will live in memory for a long, long time and I doubt if there will be anyone who will surpass this man’s performance. What a tragedy he is no more. Hollywood’s loss is irreparable.

Christian Bale is excellent and so do others excel in their parts. Chris Nolan deals out lavish sets, awesome gizmo gadgets and a terrific intelligent plot. You can hardly make out what’s going to happen next.

He dishes out reality more than fiction and the movie builds in and plays on your worst fears.
It is grim, it’s hard hitting and it leaves you wishing you never want to be in the Batman’s shoes.

Imagine being blamed for the deaths of loved ones, imagine being the target of hatred of the people you have loved, imagine being the cause of the destruction of the city you have always tried to save, imagine being the hunted for the crimes never committed!

Imagine being THE DARK KNIGHT!

P.S: Chris Nolan, Christian Bale & Heath Ledger. Sir, we take a bow!!!

Fantasy comes to life…

I maybe late on the review but I had to write about it. The Fourth Potter Movie surpasses the previous ones in terms of everything: The Picturisation, The Acting, The Direction, The Graphics, The Magic, The Sets, The Grandeur and last but not the least, The Emotions of Joy and Sorrow. Don’t compare it to the book please. A book should never be judged by its movie. A three hour film can never do justice to a 700 page book or for that matter any book. How can it? But this movie atleast has tried to capture the most of it and credit must go to the Director, Mike Newell.

The opening haunting sequence of the old man‘s death by the just surviving Dark Lord is a hint of things to come. It is going to get scarier as the next movies come in and I’m not sure how many little minds will get to see it in the theaters. In India they might, not sure abroad. Then the movie shifts base to the Quidditch world cup, oh it felt like being at the Olympics. Though I wish they had shown some moments of the match. Sigh! After cricket it’s the one sport I’ve become crazy about and sadly I’ll never get to see one live. (Drifting away slightly I’m feeling pretty bad that I’ll miss the ODI at Mumbai on 28th Nov, and that too out of my own choice!!)

The next moment I enjoyed was the entry of the other two schools to Hogwarts, the unicorn driven carriage and the magnificent ship that arose from underwater. The sight was marvelous as was the revealing of the Goblet and the trophy. Dumbledore declares the tournament open and when Harry’s name is thrown out of the goblet, you heart goes out to him when he is scorned by one and all and almost loses his best friend in Ron.

There are many moments in the film you take away with you. (Quite a few humorous ones, especially with Mad Eye Moody around.)

  • The one where Moody turns Malfoy (He does look quite handsome though;-) Excellent casting!) into a ferret.
  • The one in the study room where Snape keeps whacking Ron and Harry in their heads and they simply refuse to learn.
  • The time when Ron tries on his robes for the ball. Oh they really do take the cake! What was Mrs. Weasley thinking when she packed them off?
  • Harry’s reaction when he sees the blooming romance between Olympe Maxime and Hagrid.
  • Fred and George trying to get their names into the Goblet. The twins are a delight and I think they have some of the finest brains.
  • The Yule ball is a hit, Hermione looks stunning and we get a first glimpse of the tension between Ron and her.
  • You get a first look into Dumbledore’s Pensieve as you tread along with Harry and Moody’s Mad eye drives you a little insane!

The tasks are well shot and the final task is scary and it turns even worst for Harry. I loved the portrayal of Voldemort’s transformation and Ralph Fiennes shines in his brief role. Looking forward to seeing him more, the portrayal of Voldemort could not have been more apt.

Snape is another favourite character in the series and I have been pretty impressed with Alan Rickman. He has little to do in this movie and I was a bit disappointed, but I’m sure as hell waiting for the Half-Blood Prince to hit the theatres, oh it is going to be one long wait!

I felt a tear roll down my eye when Cedric died, when his dad anguished in the loss of his dear son and when Dumbledore told his wards the truth about Cedric’s death.

The cast has done their parts well. Ron is my eternal favourite, the character in the book as well his portrayal by Rupert Grint. Emma Watson is her usual best and Radcliffe is maturing. I also thought the Patil twins looked beautiful and Cho-Chang is pretty as well. In all, the casting is pretty satisfactory.

But you enjoy the movie for Brendan Gleeson’s Mad Eye Moody and Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort. I think the casting director hit a bulls-eye!

I can’t wait for the next movies to come and if you are a Harry Potter fan don’t you dare miss out on this one. It is surely the best of the lot.

P.S: But my moment of the movie came from this little episode…

A couple of families had come along with their tiny tots. The interval post one-half hour into the movie came up and the youngest of those little ones,(she must be 4) said out aloud, ‘Mumma is it now recess time?’

Her innocent question and relating it to school break so cutely just about made my evening. Though I’m sure she must have enjoyed this long Harry Lesson much more compared to her school ones.

Cute little wonders, I wonder what happens when they all grow up?

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