Review: Extraordinary Measures

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[Film Review]

Two of John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell) Crowley’s three children were born with Pompe Disease, a condition which prevents the body from digesting sugar.

At the time, infants diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder typically died before two years of age.

That’s why, when their daughter, Megan (Meredith Droeger), and son, Patrick (Diego Velasquez), reached their 6th and 8th birthdays, respectively, doctors suggested that they should be content with the fact that both had managed to survive beyond their life expectancy.

Nonetheless, John, a Harvard MBA employed by the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers, decided to dedicate himself to saving his kids’ lives.

So, he traveled to the University of Nebraska to meet face-to-face with Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), the leading scientist doing research on Pompe Disease.

However, John was dismayed to learn that the professor’s progress had stalled due to a lack of funding. In fact, the Nebraska football coach’s salary was greater than the amount dedicated to Stonehill’s entire project, even though he claimed to be on the verge of a scientific breakthrough.

Next, both John and the brilliant, if unorthodox professor both quit their jobs in order to create a biotech foundation with the sole purpose of finding a cure for Pompe. Thus, while the highly-motivated father relied on his business background to raise $100 million dollars, Dr. Stonehill focused on discovering a drug which would do the work of the Pompe patients’ missing enzyme.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, Extraordinary Measures is based on “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million–and Bucked the Medical Establishment—in a Quest to Save His Children,” a best seller by Pulitzer Prize-winner Geeta Anand. This tender tearjerker basically revolves around the strained relationship of Mr. Crowley and Dr. Stonehill, while we wait to see whether Megan and Patrick will be blessed with their much needed medical miracle.

Harrison Ford, shines though cast against type, since he normally plays the role of the anguished parent. Here, Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell handle that assignment capably. To its credit, this syrupy saga somehow proves moving, in spite of a fairly formulaic, Hollywood approach to the execution of the Crowleys’ truly inspirational story.               

Very Good (3 stars). Rated PG for mature themes, suggestive material and mild epithets. Running time: 106 Minutes
Studio: CBS Films

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