Based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley, Extraordinary Measures tells the tale of how John Crowley risked everything to save the lives of two of his children.
John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell) have been living on the brink for years as they dealt with the illness that was bound to take the lives of their children, Patrick and Megan Crowley. Suffering from a form of Muscular Dystrophy known as Pompe disease, the children are confined to wheelchairs and rely heavily on the use of breathing tubes.
John spends his nights researching doctors who are working on a drug that would help his kids. The disease has no cure or treatment and the life expectancy is not supposed to exceed the age of nine. With Megan having just turned eight, John is racing against the clock to save his daughter’s life.
After finding a doctor in Nebraska who is working on an enzyme that could be the answer to his prayers, John packs up his car and goes to see Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford) in person. Stonehill is not a pleasant man and is not thrilled about his new visitor. Running out of options, John lies and tells him that he has just created a program that will help fund Pompe research. This bit of information changes Stonehill’s attitude and the two men decide to work together.
Realizing that he made a huge decision without the opinion of his wife, John must tell Aileen that he is quitting his job in order to work with Stonehill on a potentially lifesaving drug for their children. In addition, he must raise $500,000 to aid in the research.
Throughout the process, John realizes that they will be unable to accomplish their goal without some outside assistance. Stonehill is not thrilled with this idea, but John secures an investor willing to back the research of Dr. Stonehill. Many factors threaten to stop the possibility of a drug trial and John may be the reason for the failure of the research.
This is a beautiful story of a man who is willing to move mountains in order to insure that his children have a long and healthy life. Fraser did a great job telling the story of the real John Crowley. He had a great connection with the kids in the film and his eyes told of the pain and sorrow he was feeling along the way. Russell has such emotional range and was able to showcase that as the mother of two dying children. Ford definitely played the egocentric scientist well, but he was not a very likable character.
This is not a movie that will “wow” a lot of people, but it’s a wonderful story of a family coming together to overcome adversity. There is a scene when the one healthy child the Crowley’s have sells his skateboard to donate money to his brother and sister’s research fund and it proved that you don’t have to be an adult to show compassion and love.