Inspired by true events, this touching story is about a family determined to make sure something positive occurs after the tragic loss of their daughter/sister. David Duchovny stars as John Fareri, a hard-working man who loves his family; wife Brenda (Hope Davis); her two grown daughters and one grown son by an earlier marriage; and the daughter they had together, Maria (Olivia Steele Falconer). When Maria suddenly becomes ill, a search for answers begins. The result is heartbreaking as they learn she has contracted rabies and that nothing can be done.
Maria’s death almost tears the family apart as they grieve in their own ways. Mom is like a zombie, while Dad becomes determined to do something special in Maria’s honor after reading one of her diary entries. She wishes for the health and well being of the children of the world, and then writes, “It’s weird, it’s like it just wrote itself.” Dad reads other entries that convince him to find a way to build a hospital, the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Enter John’s good friend Bruce (Timothy Hutton), who is capable of helping make the miracle happen. Some of John and Brenda’s other children feel a bit neglected, but they come on board when they begin to see the miracle happening before their eyes.
Maria is the narrator of the film and says, having referred to herself as the “glue” that kept the family together: “They might have lost their glue, but they didn’t fall apart.” The hospital becomes the first acute-care pediatric hospital in the world named after a child. Anyone who has ever been touched by tragedy and death will relate to this film. Sadly, it contains much strong language, preventing us from awarding it our Dove Family-Approved Seal.