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Sixteen-year-old Cassie Robbins is a spirited teenage girl, who loves her father Richard and stepmother Mel and dotes on her six-year-old half-brother Willy. But her carefree, happy life is forever changed when she is diagnosed with leukemia and her only hope of a cure lies in a bone-marrow transplant. However, when Willy proves to be a match, Mel is not-so-willing to allow her young son to undergo surgery as he nearly died the last time he was operated on after reacting badly to the anesthetic. Mel and Richard now have to decide if it's right to risk the life of one of their children to save the life of the other child, and of Willy's own rights in deciding if he should help the sister he worships.Written by
'Solomon's Choice' is a heart-warming film about how a child's illness has all sorts of ramifications for all the family and the rights of parents and children.
The film centres on Cassie Robbins, an energetic sixteen-year-old who has a close relationship with her father Richard and stepmother Mel and dotes on her six-year-old half-brother Willy. But when she is diagnosed with leukaemia and chemotherapy fails, a bone-marrow transplant remains her only hope of survival. And this is when Richard and Mel clash as Willy could be a potential match but his mother isn't willing to risk the procedure since the little boy had a bad reaction to anaesthetic when he was last operated on. Richard reacts harshly when he sees Mel's reluctance to test their son as an example of her protecting her 'real' child over her step-daughter. As their family starts to collapse, Willy himself becomes increasingly aware that he holds the key to saving his sister.
The quality of acting in the film surpassed what is usually expected in made-for-television dramas. Cassie, played by a teenage Reece Witherspoon, was excellent as a likable girl coping with the turmoil of possible terminal illness and who is willing to die if that's what it takes to protect her little brother. Bruce Davison, as Richard, and Joanna Kerns, as Mel, give strong performances as parents who fiercely love their children but have to defend their differing views under such gut-wrenching circumstances. And a small Joseph Mazzello (better known as Tim in 'Jurassic Park'), in the role of Willy, gives a very endearing portrayal of a little boy caught in a situation he doesn't understand yet determined to support his sister.
The story is depicted in a manner that is quite realistic, with parents lashing out-- sometimes violently-- in the face of their child's possible death and children struggling to cope with illness and what is happening to their previously happy family. The film does well in showing a rather balanced view of both Richard and Mel's views, without turning the latter into a wicked stepmother hoarding her natural son to herself and instead she is just shown to be a worried mother. That said, personally, it was hard to agree with her and it would have been interesting to have seen the consequences to the Robbins' marriage and to an older Willy had Cassie died without the transplant.
'Solomon's Choice' is still one of the better TV dramas out there and is certainly worth catching if it's ever on.
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