Keeping Abreast of the Situation
I've said it before but I applaud any movie which attempts to cover with the subject of cancer be it lung or as in the case of "My Breast" breast cancer as it is never an easy subject to cover but a worthy one none the less. Now "My Breast" is actually based upon the true story of journalist Joyce Wadler who in her early 40s discovered a lump in her left breast and what we get is her account of what she went through. It is an account which feels very factual as it goes through what she encounters from the first visit to the doctors through to the choices she has to make over what surgery to have be it a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. But alongside this there is also how it affects her emotionally and her relationship with boyfriend as well as close friends who support her through the whirlwind of changes.
So what that means is that whilst "My Breast" interweaves two sides of the story, the facts and the relationships it can be split into two. The factual side as we are lead through Joyce finding a lump and being diagnosed with breast cancer is actually quite tough going, almost coming across cold at times in the way doctors deal with Joyce. If you have never looked into the subject of breast cancer and the impact of surgery it will take you aback and as such Meredith Baxter does a fantastic job of delivering the complexities of what this means. It does try to bring some wit into the mix which doesn't quite pay off as Joyce has a friend Herb who is full of jokes but it does stop it from becoming too heavy all the time.
But there is also the personal side of things as Joyce's relationship with good time guy Nick comes under the microscope as he seems to shy away from dealing with Joyce's illness and at times being insensitive to Joyce's situation. Again there is a certain amount of wit to this which lightens the tone but also does a good job of highlighting how dealing with cancer and the fear of death makes you re-assess friendships and relationships.
The reason why "My Breast" works is not just because of the wring but also the clever casting of Meredith Baxter as she is instantly likeable, both strong and determined but with the right amount of fragility. She also bravely does something you rarely see in one of these TV movies and we see her actually undergoing a breast examination which I mention because that means we do have a scene where she is topless but it is anything but erotic. Baxter is accompanied by a good supporting cast and Jamey Sheridan certainly makes boyfriend Nick an insensitive fool whilst James Sutorius brings some Billy Crystal like wise cracks as best friend Herb.
What this all boils down to is that "My Breast" whilst not the greatest of movies is an effective look at the emotional turmoil of discovering you have breast cancer and the vasious aspects of treatment.