In Living Proof, Harry Connick Jr. plays Dr. Dennis Slamon, a research scientist who has a breakthrough in the treatment of breast cancer, a gene called Her-2. The odds he faces of having that discovery accepted turn out to be higher than finding the cure. This made-for-TV movie DVD features a who’s who of actresses and is based on a true story. Living Proof is a pretty good movie that should give you a good cry.
Living Proof wastes little time setting itself up –the opening scene between Dr. Slamon and his assistant is decently handled “all the exposition you need”—and telling its story.
The movie then immediately presents the four or five important women who become the focus of Slamon’s research, including Lily Tartikoff, (Angie Harmon), wife of NBC honcho Brandon Tartikoff, a grandmother (Swoozie Kurtz), his wife (Paula Cale) and a designer (Regina King). It then immediately gets to the funding crisis, the Tartikoffs getting involved, more difficulties, who the bad guy is, and so on.
This heavy handed approach to story is a problem. This not only makes it hard to connect to the characters, it takes quite a bit of the heart away from Living Proof: one of the characters is pregnant and two scenes later leaves the operating room with the diagnosis of a malignant tumor; when the drug company is dragging its feet on animal testing one of the executives learns his mom has breast cancer. The next scene is one of the patients learning there are now human trials.
Harry Connick Jr. is no great actor, the movie is not above a few clichés and tear-jerking scenes, but all in all Living Proof is an interesting story sure to get you to shed a tear or two.