Guilt & Moving On
23 year old Sarah Russell (Amber Tamblyn) is working in Macy's whilst putting herself through medical school when she receives the bad news that she has Leukaemia and it is an aggressive form which requires immediate treatment. But Sarah decides to take the long journey home to see her parents Gayle (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and Tim (Tim DeKay) to tell them face to face. It is when she gets home that she has a confrontation with Lorainne Morrissey (Jennifer Ehle) who she use to baby-sit for and who is less than happy to see her back in town. It leads to Sarah questioning whether the Leukaemia is karma for something which happened in her past whilst also having to deal with running into former boyfriend Evan (Paul Wesley).
Let me just say now that you will find other reviews of "The Russell Girl" on the net which put more detail in to their plot outlines than I did. I don't usually do this but I suggest avoiding them as "The Russell Girl" works best when you don't know the detail as it is actually a movie which slowly puts the pieces in to place creating some intrigue along the way. As in we do not know straight away why Lorainne is not happy to see the return of Sarah, all we know it has a noticeable affect on her which her husband notices and then when he spots Sarah's car realises is to do with her return. When you don't know what the history between them is your mind searches through the possibilities such as was their infidelity going on.
But "The Russell Girl" is more than just a movie with a slice of mystery it is a movie about people, emotions, dealing with hurt and the past and moving on, finding the power not just to forgive but in some cases forgive yourself. I won't be specific as I would have to tell you too much and spoil the movie's mystery but it is one of those movies where you can't but help drop the words insightful, powerful and touching in to a review.
What this all boils down to is that "The Russell Girl" is one of those movies which you just have to watch and let the story reveal itself to you as it plays out, drip feeding the information to eventually create a complete picture of what is going on. But I will say it is a movie which has a good heart and unfortunately being good hearted may not be what you want from a movie.