MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (2016)
Patricia Riggen’s film from a screenplay by Randy Brown and based on Christy Beam’s memoir MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is a joy to behold and definitely not for the cynical minded. I absolutely loved this film because it is so well crafted in detailing the tragic circumstances of a child getting sick with an incurable disease and the impact if had on a family regarding their faith in God, their finances, their marriage, their business and just about everything you can imagine. Much of the film is spent in tragic circumstances with the brunt of the burden being placed on the mother, Christy Beam, portrayed with a beautiful performance by Jennifer Garner (who herself was going through a rather painful divorce when production took place). There is a scene near the end of the picture when a short review of the film takes place, with Christy when addressing a Church crowd, some of whom have wounded her deeply, is recounting how God enters our lives sometimes completely unawares to ourselves at the time. What makes this story all the more special is that it is true and meant a great deal to me when I saw it, going through a rather painful period of change and at times deep frustrations in my life right now. It is very hard to understand God’s reasoning or why certain prayers are not answered in the order received, but the film makes it very clear that we are never alone. It takes up the challenging task of how cruel well meaning people (and sometimes not so well meaning) can be, especially when in a Christian setting. There is a scene when Christy is confronted by three members from her Church who imply that perhaps her daughter’s misfortunes may be due to the sins of she and her husband. This confrontation has such a devastating impact on her that she ceases to go to Church, but still she is never alone. This is a small miracle of a film, much like MacFARLANE USA was last year, but because it is being released so early in the year will probably be completely forgotten at Academy Awards time next year. I say this because Jennifer Garner should be nominated for an Oscar. She shows such depth of character and empathy towards her daughter Anna, that the entire audience was in tears at times, particularly in a devastating sequence in the hospital when the child is giving up. I have a policy of not revealing too much of a film’s plot and yes there is a miracle or perhaps more appropriately a series of miracles throughout this film. Anyone who’s seen the preview can attest to basically knowing the whole plot before you walk in, but the actual picture itself is a revelation and a wonder to behold. Special attention should be paid to a fine group of actors who include Kylie Rogers as Anna, Martin Henderson who is wonderful as Kevin Beam, Christy’s husband and Anna’s father, John Carroll Lynch, Eugenio Derbez, Queen Latifah (as one of those Angels who appears throughout this film), Brighton Sharbino and Zach Sale.