Thursday, March 24, 2016

Film Review: MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN

Adorable Anna, imagining Heaven.
Okay, so it was snowing and cold and nothing else was playing in my town, see? And so despite the dumb title -- like where the heck else do miracles come from? -- I went to see this "faith-based" movie even though I am of little faith. And I'm glad I did, if for no other reason than a dynamite performance by Jennifer Garner as Christy Beam, mother of a sick child. (Garner should just be awarded the Best Actress Oscar right now before everyone forgets Miracles in Heaven, as well they should.)

The sappy tale is true, which makes it less sappy and more stunning, despite being handled mawkishly by the director. There are lots of sunlight-glinting-through-trees shots, and people looking up at the fluffy clouds, and other hints of The Big Guy, including one scene that takes place in Heaven itself, which was quite eye-opening. Turns out those fluffy clouds are hiding a solid, slick floor you could likely skate on, and the trees are various shades of pink and blue, and hydrangea petals turn into butterflies and fly away when you touch them. The whole place is quite lovely. But I digress.

Back home in Texas, on the farm with the cows and the horses and the five dogs, we're watching adorable 10-year-old Anna suffer with a horrible digestive disease that causes her to be in constant pain and be fed through a tube in her nose, which we see going in and out and in and out more times than I really needed. (Once would have been too much.) Christy finds a specialist in Boston, offering the interesting diversion of another city and the flights back and forth. Anna has two sisters and a really handsome Dad, and the whole lot of them go to church every Sunday and have a great life until that awful illness arrives out of the blue. Bummer.

Christy cries a lot, and so will you. And she stops going to church. Who wouldn't? I mean, what could make you not believe in God more than a sick child? (Nothing, that's what.) But the Lord comes through in a very dramatic and miraculous way, which we all knew would happen from the spoiler title, and Christy returns to her church with quite a story to share, the one about all the miracles. One miracle the film could do without is Queen Latifah as a Boston waitress who befriends Christy and Anna in their hour of need. I'm guessing she was stuck in there to avoid that whole "no-roles-for-blacks" thing, because her character is totally unbelievable and adds nothing to the story line.

Anyway, bring tissues.

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