Screenwriter Jeremy Leven and director Nick Cassavetes, looking for another three-hanky hit after their Alzheimer's drama The Notebook (2004), adapt Jodi Picoult's best seller about a family misshapen by the trauma of one child's leukemia. The central conflict is far-fetched but fascinating: 11-year-old Anna (Abigail Breslin), who was genetically engineered by her parents (Jason Patric and Cameron Diaz) to serve as a medical donor for her ailing older sister, balks at giving up a kidney and engages an ambulance-chasing attorney (Alec Baldwin) to sue the parents for her medical emancipation. Surrounding and ultimately subsuming this ethical struggle is a fair amount of pediatric-cancer horror and mush, though Cassavetes is frequently bailed out by his cast (Diaz is admirably unpleasant as the controlling mother, and Joan Cusack is unusually tough and restrained as the presiding judge). PG-13, 109 min.
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer: Jeremy Leven, Nick Cassavetes and Jodi Picoult
Producer: Stephen Furst, Scott Goldman, Mark Johnson and Chuck Pacheco
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Abigail Breslin, Joan Cusack, Sofia Vassilieva and Jason Patric