January 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm , by Emily Chau
Inspired by a real life story, Extraordinary Measures is a tearjerker of a tale. John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is a rising corporate star and loving family man, but two of his kids have Pompe disease, a neuromuscular disorder. Told that they have a year left to live, Crowley gives up his high paying job and enlists the help of researcher Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) to design a miracle drug. What Stonehill lacks in interpersonal skills (and funding), he makes up in terms of brilliance, and the two begin an unlikely partnership. Working around the clock, Crowley and Stonehill race for a cure while battling the hurdles of big pharma and each other.
Extraordinary Measures adds an interesting perspective to the ongoing health care debate. Crowley comes up hard against the realities of pharma: It’s not personal, it’s business. More inspired by dollar signs than the faces of the disease, these companies will only invest if the drug seems profitable.
But in the end, big, bad pharma comes out as being not-quite-so-evil after all. While their bottom line philosophy sounds cruel, their need for objectivity is actually quite necessary. The movie tugs on your heartstrings and unless you are devoid of human compassion, you can’t help but become emotionally invested in the Crowleys’ crusade. Interestingly, it’s this very type of emotional involvement that the pharmaceutical company warns Crowley against. Passion and personal interest may drive research, but in the end, the science has to speak for itself.
Photo courtesy of CBS Films