Parent Movie Review – Overall: A

by Rod Gustafson

Figure skating is all about overcoming incredible odds. With the huge number of young people lacing up to have a shot at Olympic fame, it takes a person with determination that’s at least as strong as her legs. Carley Allison (played by Sarah Fisher), a young woman from Ontario, Canada, fits that description. Working to gain a place on Canada’s national team, she is gaining momentum. Then she begins to experience a severe shortage of breath. What is originally thought to be asthma turns out to be something far worse. Carley is suffering from a rare form of cancer (melanoma), and has a tumor that is blocking her trachea.

Chemotherapy requires Carley to hang up her skates, yet her resolve to return to the sport never falters. After nine months of treatment, she comes back to the blades and shows even more promise than before. But, sadly, Carley’s challenge with the dreaded disease is not yet over. A year and a half after her initial diagnosis the high school senior finds herself facing Clear Cell Sarcoma in her lungs.

When Carley isn’t skating she turns to her other favorite hobby—singing. Building up a YouTube following, her talented vocal abilities are all the more amazing considering she has undergone a tracheotomy and now has limited lung capacity. Yet her desire to sing out loud and clear inspires many of her peers and a growing worldwide audience. Meanwhile her parents (Sergio DiZio and Chantal Kreviazuk) and compassionate boyfriend John (Luke Bilyk) continue to surround her with love and support. It’s a team effort that teaches powerful examples of compassion, perseverance, and optimism.

There are only a few content issues parents will want to consider before sharing this movie with their teens. Watching Carley (in a noteworthy performance by Fisher) deteriorate and deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and the ravages of cancer may be scary and disturbing for young children. The treatments cause her to vomit (which is depicted) and lose her hair. A particularly nerve wracking incident involving the replacement of her tracheotomy dressing is also justifiably distressing. Some blood and medical procedures are shown. Other concerns included are a few mild sexual remarks and a short rendezvous of passionate kissing between Carley and John in an empty classroom. Finally, during one of the few moments Carley succumbs to the difficulties of her condition she tells “Cancer” how she really feels with the use of a sexual expletive.

Kiss and Cry is a refreshing view of the potential of adolescence during a time when cinema far too frequently portrays teens as depressed and/or narcissistic. For families going through similar struggles, this emotional roller coaster may be too much of a ride. Yet even for those dealing with a myriad of other challenges, Carley’s “chose to smile” attitude offers plenty of fuel to power up your own hope and fortitude.