Starring Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, and Keri Russell
Directed by Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas)
Rated PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment
Appropriate for all ages
Based on a true story, Fraser and Russell are parents to two children with an incurable disease that will most likely take their lives before they hit their teens. Fraser enlists the support of a researcher from the University of Nebraska (played by Ford) that is doing research that could be the answer to a cure for their children. Together, the two of them set off to raise enough money to start a biotech company in order develop a product that might save his children and thousands more like them that would die otherwise.
I’ll just get this out of the way since everyone has been saying it – yes this is totally ‘movie of the week’ material. It probably didn’t deserve the big screen treatment it got and although Ford’s character tries to throw in a bit of conflict to keep things interesting, it just isn’t meant for ‘the movies.’
That being said – it’s a darn high quality movie of the week. The acting by all is far above what you would have gotten normally in a film such as this as are the production values. If the goal is to get the story out there in grand fashion, I can’t think of a better platform than what they chose and it’s a gusty move putting a movie like this into theaters competing with what most folks consider to be popcorn-worthy pictures.
One thing a lot of folks may or may not like is how manipulative it is. This film sets out to make you cry – a lot. And even I had to fight it back a couple of times. It’s very difficult to watch children dying (even children acting like they are dying) and not have an emotional response. But this starts to get sappy after a while.
Also, the story has to follow a predictable path, I fully understand that, which means it’s important for the hero to lose everything at the end of the second act, but I have a feeling that most of the audience will be a little confused as well as depressed since the science-heavy talk abounds at the same time the hero is at his lowest. They tried to keep this simple, but I know a lot about the health sciences field having worked in it for much of my life, and even I had to concentrate.
So my advice to you is if you feel like a nice and inspirational Hallmark commercial of a family movie that will have you crying yet leave you feeling good at the end, check it out. Otherwise, wait a bit and it will be the ‘movie of the week’ on TV in no time. C+