While the story itself is particularly bleak, there are a few nice cinematic touches that prevent My Sister's Keeper from being a total bummer. Warmly told from each character's point of view, a move that mirrors Picoult's own writing style, the audience has a better opportunity to connect with everyone involved. And in yet another memorable cameo, Alec Baldwin injects a much-needed shot of comic relief as an attorney for Anna who decides to seek "medical emancipation" from her family. Sick of serving as her sister's keeper, Anna wants the right to use (or not use) her body however she wants, a move that sends the already stressed-out family into an uncomfortable courtroom scenario.

Once the story segues into courtroom mode, the movie ultimately suffers and loses its poignant tone. With nothing much in the way of legal precedent for this unusual case, and a big twist that eventually comes out of left field, the audience gets too jerked around to really ponder the case's legal ramifications. But no matter where you land on the issue, one thing about watching My Sister's Keeper really stuck with me. Sure, the time-honored truth about the frailty of life certainly springs to mind. More than that, however, is a renewed sense of thankfulness for my faith as an anchor in life's most challenging moments. Through the biggest fight of their lives, all this fictional family has is one another, which is an amazing foundation that many people aren't quite so fortunate to have. But without hope of an afterlife spent with Jesus in heaven, struggling through a family member's terminal illness just becomes that much more hopeless without knowing the true Hope.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Kate is a on a steady stream of pain meds for her cancer, and in a moment of anger after the unexpected death of her boyfriend, Kate rebels by binge-drinking and trying to OD on pills.
  • Language/Profanity:  A moderate amount of profanity, including instances where the Lord's name is taken in vain. On one occasion, the "f" word is used.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Discussion of sex and conception. Kate and Taylor  (Thomas Dekker) make out and later, fool around in a hospital bed after a dance. Kate tells her Mom "they did it," but Kate clarifies that they "didn't do IT."
  • Violence:  No violence, but there are plenty of family verbal sparring, particularly by Sara who is fiercely protective of Kate.
  • Religion:  Kate and Sara debate what happens after death, and the afterlife is briefly addressed. But really, the film's take is that death is just death—it's natural and happens to everyone. There is no mention of spirituality or hope that's rooted in anything more than simply believing the best. Faith healers are also discussed, but not in a religious context. It's more of a "mind over matter" approach to getting healed that's addressed. 
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.