Desperate Choices: To Save My Child (1992)
My Sister's Life
Mel (Joanna Kerns) and Richard Robbins (Bruce Davison) are blessed as whilst having children from previous relationships their marriage is a good one and their son Willy (Joseph Mazzello) gets on well with his older half sister Cassie (Reese Witherspoon). But then the plucky and athletic Cassie falls ill and doctors diagnose that she has leukaemia with her only hope is finding a match for a bone marrow transplant. When it is discovered that Willy is a good enough match it causes stress between Mel and Richard as the last time Willy had an operation he had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic which nearly killed him and Mel is reluctant to risk his life to save Cassie's. Meanwhile Cassie would rather die than put her little brother through a surgery which could kill him.
In a way "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child", which also goes by the name of "Solomon's Choice", is a forerunner to "My Sister's Keeper" with its dilemma storyline where we have a sick child who is going to die without treatment and with the perfect donor being a step brother. As such the focus of the movie is not on whether or not Cassie survives but that dilemma which comes from risking the life of one child to save another especially when history shows that the risk could be even greater thanks to a previous, troubled surgery. And it does a good job of exploring this dilemma with parents Mel and Richard ending up at odds over what to do and whether or not Willy has a choice in the matter.
What is interesting about "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child" is that it doesn't shy away from the emotional side of the movie but never goes too sentimental with it. As such we get to see how close Cassie is to her little brother to the point she would rather not have him go through a painful and risky surgery. Meanwhile we see how hard it hits Willy to see his sister who he looks up to becoming extremely ill. This combination of elements makes "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child" a well though about and involving drama as you can connect with every point of view.
Now what will attract most audiences to watch "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child" now is that it features a young Reese Witherspoon in just her third role and an even younger Joseph Mazzello. And I tell you what these two young actors work so well together I wouldn't be surprised if they became life long friends thanks to this movie. And when you are not being charmed by these young actors there is Joanna Kerns and Bruce Davison who get the more dramatic scenes as they deliver the tension and the arguments of a couple divided. It is also worth mentioning that there is also a young, long haired Jeremy Sisto as a school friend of Cassie's who is sweet on her.
What this all boils down to is that "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child" not only features a fascinating dilemma storyline which delves into all the issues it also benefits from a good young cast who help to bring the drama to life and gain the audiences empathy.
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