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Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), December 4, 2009 | Go to article overview

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Alan Little reports: * MY SISTER'S KEEPER (12) .... CAMERON Diaz headlines as high powered attorney Sara Fitzgerald, a mother who'll save her daughter Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) by any means in this adaptation of Jodi Picoult's challenging novel of the same name.

When they discover that Kate has leukaemia, Sara and husband Brian (Jason Patric) make a controversial decision to conceive another child - a genetic match - to save her life.

Hospital visits become a normal part of childhood for the new arrival until, at the age of 11, Anna (Abigail Breslin) announces that she no longer wants to be a guinea pig and hires a lawyer (Alec Baldwin) to plead her case.

The complex relations between each family member is handled sensitively. Voiceovers give an insight into their thoughts but occasionally these sequences disrupt the flow of the narrative. The youngsters, particularly Breslin, steal the show in this moral dilemma for the modern age.

* SUNSHINE CLEANING (15) .... FEUDING sisters Rose and Norah Lorkowski (Oscar nominee Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) rediscover life amid the detritus of the recently deceased in Christine Jeffs' portrait of dysfunctional family life.

The estranged siblings end up working together cleaning up crime scenes, mopping up bodily fluids after the police have gone.

Set against the strip malls and barren desert of Albuquerque, Adams convincingly portrays a faded golden girl while Blunt is similarly impressive and the rapport between the female leads drives the film to its uplifting resolution.

Featuring Oscar winner Alan Arkin as their doddering, get-rich-quick salesman father Joe, the film strikes a pleasing balance between laughter and tears without ever resorting to cheap gags or cloying sentiment. …

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