A Movie Review
By Hosea M. Rupprecht, FSP
JAN. 29, 2010 - Inspired by a true story, Extraordinary Measures tells of a parent’s struggle to save his dying children. Megan and Patrick Crowley were both born with Pompe disease. Pompe kids are missing an enzyme that breaks down sugar in the systems. Because of this, organ failure is inevitable and the kids usually don’t make it past age nine.
For John and Aileen Crowley (Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell), sitting around and watching their children die was not an option. John, a businessman, teams up with a cantankerous researcher, Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) to come up with a cure for Pompe.
Based on the book, The Cure, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geeta Anand, Extraordinary Measures chronicles the rocky relationship between John and Bob as they navigate the minefield between scientific research and pharmaceutical companies willing to fund that research.
Frustrated at the slowness of the progress, John tells Bob, “You cure diseases in theory but never help a single human being in reality.” John was running out of time and research of this kind takes lots of it. His daughter, Megan, is eight and won’t live out the year.
Ford, an executive producer for the film, was drawn in by the book, “I thought Geeta’s book had something to say about personal courage, initiative, parents’ love, and the power to overcome extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”
This is evident on screen in the interplay between Ford’s pure science Dr. Stonehill and Fraser’s emotional parent trying to save his kids Crowley. In the end, the movie is an inspiring story of the extraordinary measures the human spirit will go to triumph over those who say it can’t be done.
Sister Hosea Rupprecht, FSP, is a Daughter of St. Paul and an associate at the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA.