Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Screening of My Sister's Keeper: My Thoughts and Review

Last night I was invited by 107.9's Mix Flick Chick, Kelly Gingery, to the screening of My Sister's Keeper. Seeing the movie trailer, I couldn't wait to see the movie even though I knew I would have to bring my tissues.

I didn't read the book so I didn't have any preconceived ideas. I did know I would not be disappointed especially when I saw the cast, Cameron Diaz, Jason Patrick, Alec Baldwin and Abigail Breslin.

I loved the movie, sure I cried, but I laughed too. I also was deeply touched by the situation of what pediatric cancer, or any child life-threatening illness, does to the entire family. Maybe it's because I was involved with and worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for years and met many wish families. They even mentioned Make-A-Wish for a brief moment in the movie which was a little surprising.

Actually mentioning Make-A-Wish wasn't surprising, it was more of how and when it was mentioned. It was in a scene when all hope was lost. Everyone knew there wasn't anything else they could do for Kate so the oncologist had the mother talk to a social worker. She was trying to get the mother to face the inevitable and actually asked if they ever considered a "Make-A-Wish".

Being the former "brand police" for the foundation, instinctively my red flags went up because it implied this was a last dying wish for a terminal child. This is totally opposite of what the foundation does. Make-A-Wish is about hope and joy, and many children heal and live long, full lives. The terminal label is a brand misnomer I dealt with daily.

I wish all people could see what Make-A-Wish does for families. I will never forget the times I would visit a wish family. Walking in the house everyone was reserved, sad, confused and the mood was often very heavy. After a few moments talking about a wish the mood lightened, families would smile and happiness would enter the room. Thinking about it, I probably was one of the few people that delivered good news at a time when so much bad news was given. The thought of the wish provided hope and happiness at a time when a family needed it most. It really made me feel like a fairy godmother at times.

In My Sister's Keeper there was a beach scene. It wasn't Kate's wish but Kate really wanted to go to the beach. Knowing how important it was to his daughter, her dad took her out of the hospital to give her that experience. For me, this scene was so incredibly powerful and touching. It reminded me of what a wish does for a family. For a moment, Kate felt healthy, the family laughed, played and lived in the moment. It was a respite from stress and heartache and was pure joy and love. Without formally being her wish, it was essentially Make-A-Wish.

I loved the movie and was amazed at how it made me miss Make-A-Wish. Not my days of working there and the office politics, but the pure essence and power of the mission. It also made me incredibly thankful that for years I was able to be a part of helping families feel complete and unforgettable joy. It was complete and unforgettable for me too and I'm so glad this movie reminded me of that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the movie as well. It is just a sweet reminder that the body just breaks down and sometimes it is time to surrender your control.

On a positive note, the siblings were fab, they were friends and seemed to rise above their sister's illness and treat her "normally".

I can see why you miss the "Make A Wish" promise but not the politics.

ju ju burd