Extraordinary Measures is a 4-H movie. It is about Hope, Health, Happiness and Helping. It is one of those feel good movies that make you appreciate what a few good people can accomplish when their hearts are in the right place. The fact it is based on a true story adds to the enjoyment of the film as you don't have to waste time scoffing at the unreality of it all.
The story focuses on John and Aileen Crowley (Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell) who are the parents of three children. The oldest is perfectly healthy but the younger two are afflicted with Pompe's Disease, a neuromuscular ailment that is usually fatal within the first eight years of life. Megan (Meredith Droeger) is the middle child and Patrick (Diego Velazquez) is the youngest. Megan is eight years old at the start of the film and Patrick is six so time is running out for them.
John works for Bristol-Meters and Aileen stays home with the children. When Megan takes a turn for the worse John knows he has to do something. Through his research he has learned that Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) is one of the leading researchers in the field of Pompe's. He has tried to contact him several times but has been unsuccessful. Finally he decides to drive to the University of Nebraska where Stonehill is employed.
The two men meet and clash. Stonehill is crusty and cantankerous but he needs John's business acumen to help him get research dollars. John of course needs for Stonehill to find a cure for Pompe's. They form a symbiotic relationship that might help them both.
The film is maudlin to say the least but true life is sometimes maudlin. It is also horrific in its scenes of the children's illness. If you are a parent it is difficult to watch this and place yourself in the Crowleys' place. But the film also underscores the need for activism in the face of adversity. Plus both John and Stonehill have to bend to achieve their goals.
Ford is perfectly cast as the irascible Stonehill. He is light years away from his action hero characters but he is still a hero of sorts in this movie. He has good chemistry with the other actors in the film and makes his participation integral to the success of the movie.
Fraser has to grow on you. At first glance he appears to be out of his league in this very serious role but the more you get into the film the better he gets. He convinced me he was a dedicated father willing to do anything to help his kids. Russell is kind and loving in her role but doesn't get much of a chance to flex her acting muscles.
The film is rated PG for mild profanity.
Extraordinary Measures will touch your heart and give you hope. It shows mankind at its best, and we need to see that reflected on screen.
I scored "Extraordinary Measures" an extraordinary 7 out of 10.
Read more at www.jackiekcooper.com.
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