The movie begins in 1987, where Dr. Ben Carson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) goes to Germany to visit a couple named Peter and Augusta Rausch, who have twins conjoined at the head. Ben knows that chances of saving them both will be a risk, because one baby always dies in situations like that. Ben agrees to do the operation, but he will wait four months so he can come up with a plan to save them both. While looking into some of his books, the movie flashes back to the year 1961, where 11 year old Ben Carson (Jaishon Fisher) starts out life as an African American child from a one-parent home with failing grades at school. Ben has an older brother named Curtis. His mother, who dropped out in the third grade, starts making decisions for him. When her boys need to learn multiplication tables, she has them swear to learn them while she is gone to check herself into a mental institution. When she sees her two sons’ success hindered by TV, she schedules timings to watch TV, boys show great interest in watching only a quiz show later on and commands them to read two books per week from the library and give her a book report, she also moves them to better schools.

Meanwhile as time passes, Ben learns how to multiply and to spell. He starts to explore the world of books, and he grows in it. He begins to show a temper; Ben almost kills his friend who tells him to go to hell. He used his new knife to stab him and it broke when it hit the buckle of his belt. Having almost killed someone because of his temper, he realizes that he can’t do anything about it. He runs to his room and cries out to God, praying that He delivers him from his temper. He becomes the top student in his eighth grade class, third in his high school class and with hard work and strong determination, he got a scholarship to college, passed the MCAT and went on to medical school. He meets his girlfriend Candy, whom he falls in love with. One day, when he struggles with a test study, she helps him out and Ben eventually passes and gets an A.

In the year 1976, Carson faced adversity from fellow doctors and students while working at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. It is here where he performed an operation as a resident without supervision, risking his medical career to save a man’s life. Then in the year of 1985, he saves the life of a girl who has seizures 100 times a day, by removing only the half of her brain that was responsible for seizures in a procedure called ‘hemispherectomy”. After two children, Candy becomes pregnant with twins, but loses the babies from a bloody miscarriage. Ben’s mother later moves in with the family.

Then the movie goes back to where it began: the year of 1987. Ben is eventually convinced to operate on the two twins, and he manages to make the operation successful, and both twins are saved.

Directed by Thomas Carter
Produced by Dan Angel
Thomas Carter
Written by John Pielmeier
Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Kimberly Elise
Aunjanue Ellis
Music by Martin Davich
Cinematography John B. Aronson
Editing by Peter E. Berger
Studio The Hatchery
Sony Pictures Television
Distributed by TNT
Sony Pictures Television
Release date(s)
  • February 7, 2009 (2009-02-07) (United States)
Running time 86 minutes
Country United States
Language English

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