Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Extraordinary Measures

Last week's movie rental was Extraordinary Measures, a 2010 film starring Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, and Keri Russell, based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley whose children have Pompe's disease. Here's the blurb about it from ....

Imagine Harrison Ford as a rogue scientist exploring not ancient artifacts of lost arks, but biochemical research to help cure rare diseases. In Extraordinary Measures, Ford manages to keep some of that wry rebellious Indiana Jones energy as he plays Dr. Robert Stonehill, a fringe researcher whose findings just might help keep alive the two children of John Crowley, played with heart and sobriety by Brendan Fraser. Extraordinary Measures is based on a true story, one chronicled in the gripping book The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million--and Bucked the Medical Establishment--in a Quest to Save His Children, by Wall Street Journal reporter Geeta Anand. The cast is excellent, with Ford tamping down his occasional urge to vamp for the camera, and Fraser grounded in his first true adult role. The supporting cast is also strong, including Keri Russell as Crowley's frantic wife, facing the near-certain death of both of her children; Dee Wallace, Jared Harris, and Courtney B. Vance also appear as strong supporting characters. Director Tom Vaughan switches gears from his wildly successful romp What Happens in Vegas to turn in a crisply paced and suspenseful family drama. As Crowley and Dr. Stonehill team up to raise money to support Stonehill's research, Crowley says, "Who's going to be half as motivated as the dad who's trying to save his own kids?" Extraordinary Measures brings to mind similar dramas like Lorenzo's Oil, but its heart and drive are unique to the story of the Crowleys, a very special family indeed. --A.T. Hurley

This isn't the kind of movie I usually want to see but I like Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford so I gave it a chance. Both actors were good in their roles, there's some interesting info about how drugs are researched and sold by pharmaceutical companies, and I was touched by the angst Frasier's character displayed (have hankies on hand). Having said that, though, the movie was not typically dramatic and might not appeal to the average viewer, and I couldn't help the nagging feeling that this would have been a much different story if the parents hadn't been financially well off.

Here's the trailer ....


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