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Film / Extraordinary Measures

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A 2010 movie Based on a True Story and the book "The Cure" about John Crowley whose dedication to saving his two children from a genetic disease named Pompe results in him becoming a driving force in the development of an enzyme therapy. Brendan Fraser plays John, Keri Russell plays his wife Aileen and Harrison Ford is Dr. Robert Stonehill, the man whose revolutionary medical theories are the key to everything.

This film uses the following tropes:

  • As You Know: Practically every other line is this, necessitated somewhat by the amount of medical exposition that has to be dumped without the luxury of an audience viewpoint character who facilitates such explanations.
  • Bumbling Dad: Subverted in the beginning of the movie. Megan was sad that her Dad hadn't showed up for bowling, but he made it for the cake. In any other movie he might have arrived at the wrong bowling alley, this was only to show that he was busy but still very mindful of them. Throughout the entire movie he is running himself ragged trying to get everything down.
  • The Cameo: The real John Crowley appears as one of the Venture Capitalist board members.
  • Casting Gag: Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser are both famous for playing Adventure Archaeologists: Ford as Indiana Jones, and Fraser as Rick O'Connell from The Mummy Trilogy.
  • Composite Character: Stonehill is fictional, the merging of a half-dozen scientists spread across several different universities.
  • Insufferable Genius: Stonehill is not very easy to get along with.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stonehill again, although much of the jerk fades away by the end. He has sympathy for John and his kids but constantly reminds him that making the drug is not a simple process.
  • Loud of War: Stonehill prefers ear bleeding loud music while working. This works okay at his university office (late at night), at the reseach lab he had built in the middle of a field, but causes problems when he becomes one of a dozen other lab scientists at a major research facility.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Megan pulls this on her father at one point.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Crowley kids were significantly younger during the events of the story than what was in the film, and the effects of Pompe reduced muscle density across their entire body, meaning they couldn't even smile. It would have been difficult to cast especially young children who couldn't smile into a role that is the emotional force behind the movie.
  • Present-Day Past: The real-life events the film (loosely) follows happened from roughly 2000 to 2003. Doesn't stop the Crowley children from playing with an Nintendo Wii, first released in 2006.
  • Race Lift: Robert Stonehill is a composite of several people, mainly one Dr. Yuan-Tsong Chen. Semi-justified in that Chen refused to be fictionalized.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Mostly averted. You could substitute almost any illness and still have the same story, but the actual effects and how the children are suffering from it is well-defined.