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The Brooke Ellison Story (2004)

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio , John Slattery , Christopher Reeve  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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The Brooke Ellison Story + The Brooke Ellison Story: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey + Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey
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Product Details

  • Actors: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Slattery, Lacey Chabert, Vanessa Marano, Jenson Goins
  • Directors: Christopher Reeve
  • Writers: Brooke Ellison, Camille Thomasson, Jean Ellison
  • Producers: Christopher Reeve, David Craig, Delia Fine, Howard Braunstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000803BQ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,130 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Brooke Ellison Story" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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 testament to the courage and determination of an unforgettable young girl and the family that stood by her, THE BROOKE ELLISON STORY is a deeply inspiring, often astonishing account of the triumph of the human spirit.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family-movie portrait of an exceptional family May 31, 2005
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true inspiration December 15, 2005
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feel good or feel sorry story April 23, 2014
Emotionally this is a 5 star movie, but upon analysis from my experience it is likely deserving only 3 stars because of what it ignores. That being said it avoided the "true" parts necessary to be called a TRUE STORY. I will surely be dunned for my “apparent lack of understanding and lack of emotional caring for my opinion” but read on.
In the closing credits they only tell us in 5 words that the husband (Ed) and his wife (Jean) got back together. They never said they divorced! What does together imply? Jean’s devotion to the tragic experience her daughter had to live with actually appeared to totally ignore other real life factors. Such as the pain and suffering of her brother (David) and her sister. The truly unselfish person in this tragedy, in my opinion, was the trauma of the husband (Ed)and the underplayed emotions of the two siblings. The husband lost his wife, and had to deal with his other children. He had to spend his life funding the financial support, and responsibility as well as the emotional trauma of Brook’s brother and sister.
I am not ignoring the devotion and physical effort of the mother for Brooks, but the emotional trauma is not fully or truly covered in the movie. The movie ended with Brook’s, and HER MOTHER, still "going for" her doctorate. This is commendable, but like the "dance" she is all dressed up with no where to go. The rare quadriplegic genius Stephen Hawking could survive and contribute given his astronomical IQ or even Mr. Wunder III with some bicep capabilities and his movie “Sweepstakes” are the only exceptions I know of.
I had a very beautiful and charismatic handicapped young and beautiful friend in two of my classes in college, and felt I could truly love her for my whole life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - Excellent - Moving - Highly Recommend the book and the...
"The Brooke Ellison Story" has to be one of the best books and movies (Directed by Christopher Reeves) I'v ever had the pleasure of reading and watching -- it's hard to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by RLF
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Courageous!!!
The Brooke Ellison Story was truly one of the most inspiring movies that I’ve seen in a long time. It goes down in my history with many biography stories that leave you tearing... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sybil M. Fonseca
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I loved this movie because it is very inspirational and sweet. Full of wonder with a great outcome and ending!
Published 7 months ago by morganj
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great true and inspiring film. Good for the entire family to watch. Makes you realize why you should count your blessings every day.
Published 9 months ago by Boo
5.0 out of 5 stars Garry Hixon relives the brooke ellison crash
There is a very good scene in the beginning where brooke is hit by the car. They wheel her in and start working on her in the trauma bay. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Garry Hixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Heart warming movie!
I was very impressed with the Brooke Ellison Story,how she never gave up and neither did her Parents. Read more
Published 12 months ago by M. Drake
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring!
I only gave this movie 5 stars because that was the highest rating I could give it. From the very first moments when Brooke was dreaming of dancing until the last moments with her... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Carolyn Pentecost
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
If you're looking for a realistic portrayal of what a quadriplegic goes through on a daily basis and the challenges of meeting life's needs, this movie will not provide that. Read more
Published on June 13, 2012 by Timegoesby
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
The movie portrayed the book accurately. The film shows how a family bonded and became a support team for Brooke Ellison as she thrived academically.
Published on February 5, 2012 by Ja
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!!
Published on December 29, 2011 by Amazon Customer
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