Poignant and Beautiful!
By a customer
, 04 Sep 2011
This is a stunningly beautiful story that forced me to bring out the tissue box. The movie is based on Kim Edwards' novel of the same title and it focuses on the story of a bone doctor who gives away one of his twins who has Down Syndrome. The Doctor, David Henry brilliantly played by Dermot Mulroney gives his female twin child to the assisting nurse to get rid of when he realises his wife has given birth to twins, one of which is perfect and one which is not. He implies that the child will not live long so without telling his wife makes the decision to dispose of the child. He rationalises that this is to save his wife, (played by Gretchen Moll) alot of unnecessary heartache. The same heartache that his mother experienced when his younger sister died of a heart
defect at an early age. In truth he wasn't doing it to spare his wife of any heartache, but rather he was doing it for himself, to spare himself of the possible pain. Needless to say the nurse finds it impossible to give the child away and moves away with the child and becomes the child's mother. This secret that the father carried caused a rift between him and his wife, and even though he got regular letters and photos from the nurse (played so amazingly by Emily Watson) he is never moved to undo the damage he created until the end when he has left it too late as Phoebe is already an adult at 18 and thinking of marriage.
Instead he initially tells his wife that she had twins but that the baby girl died. In the meantime Phoebe (Henry's child) grows up to be a sweet girl that clearly brings much joy to all those around her. It is only when Henry dies that his ex-wife (they split up) and his son find out from photos and letters he kept hidden about Phoebe.It was towards the end of his life that he realised that his throw away child was living a normal life and that she brought great happiness to the nurse who looked after her as her mother. But by then she felt reluctant to allow Henry to have contact in case he wanted to take Phoebe away from her.This story explores the concept of perceived perfection. Sometimes children born 'imperfect' as Henry claimed can have full lives, and most importantly they can bring great joy to those around them. A human being's life is intrinsically more important and valuable than just the sum of what makes us perfect. Unfortunately Dr.David Henry (the irony of him being a Doctor made his character even more interesting, because you would think a Doctor would have a greater understanding ) realised this far too late and greatly deprived his wife and son for 18 years of the gift that came as the girl called Phoebe.
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