Somehow you always seem to expect much more from films based on true stories. The emotion should be gripping, the plight should be arresting and the personal element should always win out. 'Extraordinary Measures' tries very hard to bring what is a fascinating story to life but it often trips up along the way.
John Crowley (Fraser) is a man on a mission. Distracted from his daily work, he spends all of his evenings phoning scientists and doctors in the hope of finding a cure for the illness that two of his children suffer from. Both Megan (Droeger) and Patrick (Velazquez) have a rare genetic disorder, which threatens to cut their lives short. And while their mum Aileen (Russell) tries to create normality in their lives, so that they don't miss out on anything, there's always a ticking clock in the corner, reminding their parents and little brother John (Hall) that their days together are numbered. With no drug treatment available, a miracle is what the family is looking for.
Dr Bob Stonehill (Ford) might be that miracle but for the fact that he appears as the very opposite to this notion. Contrary nature aside, Stonehill could have the key to a revolutionary medical intervention, but he needs money to make his wonder-drug concept a reality.
From here on in, we see John abandon his steady job in the hope of raising the funds to finance Stonehill's medical research and testing. And between John's lack of knowledge in the field and Stonehill's beyond-difficult personality the road is not a easy one. Several setbacks to the children later, it seems that the pair are running out of time, out of hope and out of ways to do things by the book.
Although obviously a worthy story of triumph over adversity and the power of the human spirit in the face of sheer despair, 'Extraordinary Measures' lacks a certain heart that would have made it all the more compelling. You want to care about the characters and the real-life story of bravery and determination that inspired the movie but often the delivery just isn't forceful enough. Kerri Russell, however, injects some much-needed emotion into the film, connecting with the audience and really getting to grips with her role of heartbroken mother, who tries to keep the sunny side out. And, while Fraser and Ford are capable in their lead roles, the relationship between them is often hard to identify with.
Not as moving or even dramatic as it should have been, considering the subject matter at its heart.