Posted by: Natalie | April 20, 2011


Last night I watched My Sister’s Keeper (2009), a film I never really intended seeing. I couldn’t tell you why I was initially uninterested but when lent the DVD I knew it would be the perfect weepy film to watch while Steve was away.

Based on the novel by Jodi Picoult (which I have not read) it tells the story of a family dealing with the long term illness of their eldest daughter. Early in her life, Kate Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva) was diagnosed with leukaemia. With limited options to save their daughter’s life, the parents (Cameron Diaz – who is superb, and Jason Patric) opt for ‘tweaking’ a further pregnancy to produce a child with the life saving capabilities that Kate so desperately needs. However, when Anna (the incredible Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine and Zombieland) is eleven she decides to seek medical emancipation, to prevent her Mum from forcing any further, life threatening operations on her. While decisions are being made, the story flashes gently backwards and forwards to get a clear picture of everyone involved and how it was they came to this point in time. It is a very sad film from start to finish, but the water works came when the true nature of Anna’s request is uncovered, secrets are told and families broken. I have to say, I was a blubbering mess. The acting was superb, particularly from the three siblings (there’s an older brother mixed into it all too) and the delicacy with which each narrative is told is stunning. I assume to book is just as heart wrenching.

I think I shall be adding this film to the list of those which never fail to make me sob. One of these I watched on Sunday night on Film4, Brassed Off (1996). I often think that this is a much underrated film, and rarely does a synopsis really give this wonderful film any justice. It tells the tale of Grimley Colliery, a coal mine on the edge of extinction due to the previous Tory government under the Thatcherator. The community as a whole is still struggling from previous strikes, and the lives of everyone hang in the balance. But the only thing that seems to keep them together is the colliery’s brass band, led by the remarkable Pete Postelthwaite, but even this is on the brink of destruction. The story is terribly emotional (try to ignore Tara Fitzgerlad’s accent though, never heard such an awful ‘Yorkshire’ twang) and is cast incredibly – I still think it is Stephen Tompkinson’s finest role. But added to the incredible beauty of the brass band soundtrack, anyone who doesn’t fall apart during this film is not human. It never fails to break me.

My favourite film ever is An Affair to Remember (1957). I only have to watch the last ten minutes and I become all red eyed and blotchy. Who can resist a classic love story of two people determined to alter their lives entirely to be with one another? They cast aside the privileged lives to which they are accustomed and strive to prove their worth, to each other and themselves. But an awful accident keeps the lovers apart, both of them too proud to find the other and confront the wall thrown up between them. As with all good weepies, inevitably they accidentally meet; one angry and bitter, the other too ashamed to explain. Neither touches upon the difficult subject, and you think that they are going to part again, forever, without ever really knowing why. It is at that final, blessed moment of realisation and relief that the flood gates open. Probably not the best film ever made, but it is the one that plucks my heart strings the most. Plus it stars Carry Grant and Deborah Kerr – what’s not to like?!

All this made me think, I am actually a bigger wuss and fan of tear jerkers than I realised. I should have known all along really, my favourite books are often those that make me ruin the pages with tears! But there are certain moments in certain films that I cannot escape from.

Sally Fields exceptionally portrayed grief in Steel Magnolias (1989). I adore Sally Field, I think she is an incredible actress and it is her alone I think that makes this film what it is.

The saddest animated film ever - Up (2009). The silent short story element at the beginning of this film is a marvel in its own right, a lesson of how to portray emotion without dialogue; stunning, delicate and tragic. I sometimes find it hard to believe that I can be made a wreck so early in a film!

The Lion King (1994). Say no more!

And on that happy note, I’m going to go and enjoy some of the sunshine while its here!



  1. I have not seen My Sister’s Keeper, but I did read the book. It was a very interesting story of family dynamics, medical issues, and parenting and siblings. I’m not sure how close the movie came to the book. But I thought the book ended really well. And I cry during that Steel Magnolias scene every time.

    • Ooo, thanks for that! I shall certainly keep it in mind for future book shopping. Thanks for commenting. Nat x

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