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The Brooke Ellison Story
The Brooke Ellison Story
Actors: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Slattery, Lacey Chabert, Vanessa Marano, Jenson Goins
Director: Christopher Reeve
Genres: Drama, Television
PG     2005     1hr 31min

Paralyzed from the neck down by a devastating car accident, eleven-year-old Brooke Ellison and her family fight against all odds to help her live her dreams-including graduating with honors from Harvard University. A testa...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Slattery, Lacey Chabert, Vanessa Marano, Jenson Goins
Director: Christopher Reeve
Creators: Christopher Reeve, David Craig, Delia Fine, Howard Braunstein, Brooke Ellison, Camille Thomasson, Jean Ellison
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Television
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/24/2005
Original Release Date: 10/25/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 10/25/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Elizabeth B. (bethieof96) from NINETY SIX, SC
Reviewed on 5/16/2013...
Very good family movie. Will make you cry. There is hope even when there seems to be none. The moral here is to never give up. 5 stars or more.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Family-movie portrait of an exceptional family
J. SHARP | Alabama - United States | 05/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Christopher Reeve's penultimate directorial effort is a made-for-TV biopic that attempts to bring a slightly more realistic approach to the genre while hewing fairly closely to the format. In all, Reeve succeeded here.

Much of the credit can go to the writing and active participation of Brooke Ellison and her mother and constant caregiver Jean but screenwriter Camille Thomasson also deserves kudos for employing brief but memorable vignettes of the other family members. As the husband of a permanently disabled but determined wife, I know too well how spinal cord injury affects more than just one life. Even though the reality is twenty times more difficult than shown here, it's also just too graphic and downright bleak for family viewing. I strongly suggest watching the interviews provided on this disc to get just a glimpse of how much Brooke truly overcomes each day.

I especially appreciate the honest depiction of flawed people and of the myopia and short tempers this type of life can foster. That the Ellisons achieved so much in spite of their situation is incredible.

Vanessa Marano and Lacey Chabert do good work as Brooke (as a child then adult, respectively) but Mastrantonio does most of the heavy lifting as the 24-hour mom and assistant, Jean. Reeve gave her ample time to play her scenes and the discomfort created by some of them is very palpable.

The ending is probably the weakest link, falling far too rapidly into LifeTime mode, but it's still worth the ride. I sincerely recommend this DVD and applaud Reeve and the Ellisons on this effort."
A true inspiration
David E. Levine | Peekskill , NY USA | 12/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This dvd is an inspriration on many levels. First, Director Christopher Reeve overcame his disability in order to direct and complete this project, which sadly, was his final project. Secondly, the dvd portrays the true story of a young woman, who overcame her own paralysis, to complete school and then, get accepted to and complete her degree at Harvard University (she also continued on to post graduate degrees). Finally, her devoted family is an inspiration. If her mother didn't devote 24 hours, seven days a week to her care, Brooke could not have overcome the physical limitations. Furthermore, her father kept the rest of the family together as he raised Brooke's siblings.

I thought that this movie would be difficult to watch. Nothing could be further from the truth. Young Brooke was paralyzed in an accident at the age of 11 and, throughout, her detrmination and optimism are uplifting. Certainly there were problems including red tape with both schooling and medical insurance. Also, the family situation was difficult on her older sister. Nonetheless, the Ellison family is an amazingly strong and devoted family.

I have seen Million Dollar Baby which explores many of the issues of disability from a much darker side. I thought that it was also a great movie since the issues of whether to go on or to give up are issues that exist in real life and should, therefore, be explored in movies. However, I am happy that there are people like Brooke who are optimistic and choose not only to go on, but to thrive.

A worthwhile feature of the dvd is an interview with Brooke and her mother, Jean. There is also an interview with her father Ed, interspersed within. Truthfully, they don't physically resemble the actresses portraying them in the movie but, that is not important. It is the story that is important and seeing the portrayal as well as the real Brooke Ellison is uplifting. If you are afraid to see this dvd as potentially too depressing to watch, let me assure you that you have nothing to worry about."
Remarkable woman, remarkable family, inspiring achievements
Fruit Loop | Down South | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Brooke Ellison's magnificent achievements, both because and in spite of her disability, can't help but inspire. Her biography and this movie version are both a tribute to her and to her loving family, especially her mother. I think the true tragedy of Brooke's accident was not that she was so severely changed, but that we were all so nearly robbed of a remarkable and gifted human being.

Christopher Reeve's talent as a director is evident in this well-put-together biopic which covers Brooke and her family from her accident, their struggles to ensure that she continues to live as normal a life as possible, the financial difficulties of supporting a family with a severely disabled child and the frustrations of bureaucratic red tape to get Brooke adequate care, the emotional struggles of all the family members, and Brooke's final triumph when she graduates from Harvard.

I wish Brooke and her family well, and hope to see her on the speaking tour. Five stars for an inspiring story.