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Film / My Sister's Keeper

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My Sisters's Keeper is a 2009 American drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Cameron Diaz as Sara, Abigail Breslin as Anna, Sofia Vassilieva as Kate, and Alec Baldwin as Campbell. Based on the novel of the same name. The film was released on June 26, 2009.

Tropes for the movie

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Sara is brunette in the book but blonde in the film.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: "Jesse turned his life around" sounds a bit odd considering the most the film shows Jesse doing is spending nights in troubled neighbourhoods - in contrast to his rampant pyromania in the book.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Sara is considerably more sympathetic in the film than she is in the book. Notably it cuts some of her crueller moments from the book: yelling at Anna for wanting to go to a friend's birthday party, and her abuse causing Jesse to pull his braces out with a fork. Likewise since Kate dies instead of Anna, Sara and Anna rebuild their relationship. The film has also has several happy moments between the family, establishing that Sara does indeed love her other children too.
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  • Adaptational Modesty: Inverted. In the book Kate and Taylor just kiss at the prom. In the film they passionately make out and Kate claims they had sex - though quickly says they just did "some stuff".
  • Age Lift: Anna is thirteen in the book but eleven in the film.
  • Anachronic Order: The film bounces around from the current timeline where Anna's suing her parents, to various times in Kate's teen years and back to Kate's childhood from when she was first diagnosed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sick of watching her parents torture Anna just to keep her alive, Kate helps Anna win her lawsuit and lets herself die. Kate may be gone, but she dies at peace with herself, knowing Anna can finally live.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Fulfilled for the prom scene. With Kate donning a red wig, this puts her alongside blonde Sara and brunette Anna. If we include Aunt Kelly, that gives us another brunette.
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  • Bookends: The film starts with Anna going to a lawyer then jumps back in time then moves forward again to end just after the court case.
  • Composite Character: Aunt Kelly is a combination of Sara's sister and Julia in the book.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The movie takes out several other plotlines (such as Jesse's pyromania) and characters.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Thankfully averted, unlike the book. The film turns the ending into bittersweet one, instead.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Gracefully averted, unlike the book.
  • Death by Adaptation: Kate in the movie takes the place of Anna.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Sara from the past has curly hair. Sara in the present has straight hair. Sara in the Distant Finale has short hair. Additionally Jesse's hair is longer and flatter in the finale to reflect the passage of time. Likewise Kate's hair is longer when she's in remission and at her happiest. Whenever she's depressed, her hair is shoulder length or gone completely.
  • Face Death with Dignity / Go Out with a Smile: Kate. She's just happy that Anna can live on.
  • Gender Flip: The judge presiding over Anna's case is male in the book, but played by Joan Cusack in the movie.
  • Hair Reboot: Sara shaves her head to show support for Kate. The next scene cuts to much later when her hair is back to its original length.
  • Never My Fault: Lampshaded most blatantly with Sara by Anna's attorney:
    Alexander: Mrs Fitzgerald, did you ever think "Maybe I was wrong, maybe I took this too far"?
    Sara: *storms off* See you in court.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The movie trailers looked to be a dramedy of accepting a sibling having possibly terminal cancer. Then the shock comes with the book synopsis.
  • Not His Sled: The film makes major changes to the book it is based on, actually changing the ending so that Kate dies instead of Anna. This seems to work better for the movie, though, as while the book focuses on the moral and legal ramifications of obligating a child to donate organs to a sibling, the movie focuses on how the family deals with pain and loss, which would not work as well with the original Twist Ending.
  • Shirtless Scene: Brian has two: The first one when he is talking with his wife in bed and the second one in the beach.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Anna herself in the movie lives, while Kate dies instead.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The film has Kate arrange one of these because she wants to die and doesn't want Anna to suffer anymore.
  • Wham Line: "Kate wants to die!" by Jesse Fitzgerald in the court-room scene.


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