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My Sister's Keeper | 2009 | PG-13 | - 5.4.5

An 11-year-old (Amy Breslin) sues for medical divorcement from her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) because they had conceived her in order to use her blood and organs to save her older sister (Sofia Vassilieva) who's dying from leukemia. Also with Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Walter Raney, Heather Wahlquist, Evan Ellington and Jeffrey Markle. Directed by Nick Cassavetes. [1:46]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A teen boy and a teen girl attend a dance, they hold hands and dance, they leave and we see them in a darkened room in a bed, half covered by a sheet in the moonlight (we see the bare shoulders of both and her bare back to the top of the buttocks); the camera cuts to a close-up of their faces as they talk and the scene ends.
 A teen boy and a teen girl kiss five times on her doorstep after a date. A husband kisses his wife as a greeting. A husband and his wife lie in bed talking, and she in a knee-length white sleeveless gown and sports bra and he in a T-shirt and shorts. In a bedroom scene, a husband and his wife lie side by side.
 A teen girl tells her mother that she and her boyfriend "did stuff" but did not have sexual intercourse and now she has not heard from him in three days (we hear that the boy died and we see the girl grieving when she hears the news). A teen girl (in front of her mother) tells a teen boy that she can pay a bet to him about how often she vomits (please see Violence/Gore for more details) with sexual favors; her mom says, "If you do then the payback with be a bone marrow aspiration." A teen boy asks a teen girl for her phone number while in the chemotherapy ward where they are both regular patients. A teen boy and a teen girl hold hands. An 11-year-old girl asks her older sister if the kiss her boyfriend gave her was sexy and included lots of tongue. A woman says that a picture of a teen boy is cute.
 A screen full of live sperm swim across the screen, followed by a microscopic view of a human egg dividing in half (a voiceover of a young girl says that children happen when people have sex and usually during drunkenness and lack of birth control, and that she was engineered in a dish to be spare parts for her older sister).
 A woman walks out of a restaurant wearing a low-cut blouse that reveals cleavage. Three women wear mini skirts and knee-boots. A 4-year-old girl lies on a doctor's examination table and we see her bare chest briefly. An 11-year old girl is shown 4 times wearing mini skirts and knee boots. A man at a beach is bare-chested. A woman at a beach wears a strapless, loose top and short shorts. A woman wears a pantsuit with a low-cut blouse that reveals cleavage.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - An 11-year old girls says twice, "My parents are gonna kill me," because she no longer wants to donate tissues and blood to her sick sister. A husband and his wife argue about going against nature to have conceived a child as a donor for their other, sick child, and he describes having to bribe the young girl and then physically restrain her to get her to go to the hospital for tissue extraction. While pounding on a car hood, a woman shouts at her husband saying that he is killing their sick daughter, and tries to drag the girl out of the car; the man demands a divorce. A doctor tells a patient's mother that the girl's remission from cancer is over, her lucid moments will become less frequent, her kidneys have failed and "This is it, we're at the end"; the mother becomes angry when she is told to take the girl home and manage her pain. A teen girl says, "It's time to go [to die]." A mother says of her young daughter, "Get her out of here; I don't want to see her face anymore." A young girl says, "I'm tired and don't want to be cut up anymore." A teen girl says she is tired of being tired and sick and wants to die. We hear that a cancer victim has died and that death is just death and the person is just gone. A teen girl says that she doesn't mind her disease killing her, but it's killing her family as well. A teen girl remembers her brother crying because he has dyslexia and his family helping his sick sister, but not him. A doctor tells a husband and his wife that their 4-year-old daughter has leukemia and the mother cries. We hear a doctor telling a husband and his wife to have another child in order to provide blood and tissue to their other child who has leukemia. Two girls talk about death and say that they don't know where they go after death. A young girl tells a man that she was made genetically in a dish to be used for spare parts. A man reads from medical reports summarizing bone marrow aspirations, blood draws, and tissue removals that required a young girl to be held down by at least two people during the procedures. A man describes the constant pain and torture a young girl has been in, against her will. An attorney yells at witnesses on the stand. A teen girl talks about having cancer in several scenes. A young girl asks a woman how it felt emotionally when her 12-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver and the woman asks the girl if all the operations she had for her sister were scary.
 A woman is served with papers that state that her daughter is suing for medical emancipation, the woman becomes angry, slaps the girl in the face and walks out of the room. We see a flashback of a teen girl attempting suicide with pills and alcohol (please see Substance Use for more details).
 A 2-year-old girl is carried into an operating room screaming and fighting and she is held down as a doctor places an anesthesia mask over her face. A teen girl and a teen boy run into an open elevator and fall on the floor but are unhurt. A man rushes out of a courtroom and has a seizure after he collapses to the floor (he recovers quickly).
 A funeral scene shows people dressed in black and grieving, the coffin is covered by drapes and flowers and is not clearly visible. We see several cancer patients in wheelchairs waiting for chemotherapy treatment.
 A teen girl becomes paler around the face and neck throughout the movie, until she appears pale blue and her eyes are sunken, swollen and red rimmed; she develops bruises across the entire back of the skull, down the throat and around the eyes, and wears oxygen tubes in her nose after the bruising appears. A 15-year-old girl is shown throughout the film with her hair in gradual stages of falling out during chemotherapy treatments. Three scenes show close ups of bruising on the sides of the torso and on the back of a little girl.
 A young girl wipes her older sister's nose, and changes her diaper (we hear rustling and see the younger girl grimace, but see no excrement); the younger girl also reaches under the blankets with paper towels and washes her sister's buttocks (nothing is shown). A young girl sees her teen sister with blood running from her nostrils and mouth in a few scenes.
 Dozens of scenes occur in hospital rooms and doctors' offices and we see large medical needles and two youths that have implanted chemotherapy tubes in their chests. We see a doctor insert a large, thick needle into the back of a young patient (we do not see the point of entry or hear any sounds). A close up of a large-diameter syringe is shown near a patient's back, filling with dark blue fluid.
 A teen girl vomits during chemotherapy, a teen boy sitting next to her catches the vomit in a trashcan and hands her a towel to wipe her face and she is disgusted when he identifies what she had for lunch by looking at what is in the can. A teenage girl vomits blood onto the floor and two EMTs carry her out of the house. A teen girl fills a urine cup with apple juice and drinks it in order to annoy a woman who calls her disgusting; the girl spits the juice on the woman. A teen girl describes feeling scars on her boyfriend's hands from surgery.
 A building is completely engulfed in flames as firefighters douse it with hoses.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 4 scatological references, 6 mild obscenities, 3 religious obscenities, 13 religious exclamations, name-calling (dorky, broad, sister, punk, dumb, ugly), stereotypical comments regarding children, the chronically ill, women and mothers.


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SUBSTANCE USE - After her boyfriend dies, in a flashback scene, a teen girl attempts suicide as she drinks from a bottle of wine and swallows a bottle of pills, and several hospital scenes show a chemotherapy ward and patients in treatment. At a dinner table a man drinks from two bottles of beer, a man at the side of a backyard pool drinks a bottle of beer while his wife drinks a glass of white, a bottle of whiskey sits on a table beside two women (no alcohol is consumed), and we hear that a woman had a nervous breakdown after her daughter was killed by a drunk.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Chronic illness, death, "harvest children," genetic engineering, families, responsibilities, choices, obsession, winning and losing, civil rights, conflict and resolution.

MESSAGE - Children have rights too.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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