Film Review: Miracles From Heaven

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - March 17, 2016
Film Review: Miracles From Heaven

Faith in films: it has become such a common trend. Perhaps it is now time to set it aside as its own genre. Even greater than THAT trend is the trend of movies based on true events. Put these two trends together and you have something of a hybrid for two growing, captivated, movie-going audiences.

The latest offering, as a well-conceived hybrid, is “Miracles From Heaven,” directed by Patricia Riggen (“The 33”) and produced by a familiar trio: DeVon Franklin, TD Jakes and Joe Roth (all formerly involved in the making of “Heaven is For Real”). Going in AND coming out from a film such as this, it might seem hard to look at the story objectively. After all, this IS a real story written BY one of the real people directly affected by what happened IN the story. So, without further a due, I wish to congratulate the Beam family, consisting of Christy, Anna, Kevin and Abby. They have, no doubt, been through a lot in the past five years and they all deserve our greatest level of sympathy and admiration.

As for the film, Jennifer Garner (“Danny Collins”) plays the role of the distraught and emotionally volatile Christy Beam. The character encompasses an assortment of spiritual dilemmas and challenges, quite relevant and very prevalent in today’s society. New Zealand transplant, Martin Henderson (“Everest”), plays the hard-working and resilient husband, Kevin Beam. Is it possible that because WE, as Americans, have grown so accustomed to hearing OUR voices being portrayed by non-Americans, we have forgotten what WE really sound like? The point is, Garner is Texas-born, but I bought Henderson’s accent much easier.

As with almost any book, fictional or non-fictional, certain liberties were likely taken to advance the story in a shorter and more concise pace, for various reasons. For example, was the character of Angela, played by Queen Latifah (“22nd Jump Street”), just one person in real life? Was Doctor Nurko, played by Eugenio Derbez (“Aztec Warrior”), the only primary physician in Anna’s life during her greatest times of pain and turmoil? Perhaps, for the sake of the message, none of this really matters. As Pastor Scott, played by John Carroll Lynch (“Ted 2”), says early on in the movie, “Faith is the only true shelter.” While this film goes out of its way to make mention of God, the specifics of God are limited to a single utterance of Jesus, though very few would be clueless enough to NOT see that the overwhelming majority of the implied connection to God in THIS story is Christian-based.

“Miracles From Heaven” is not just about the power of faith, in and of itself, but much more about the journey of faith, particularly in times of great difficulty. As many would say, our faith is truly tested when WE are up against times in which faith is hard to accept. It was vital for Garner to showcase a certain level of maturity

and believability in this role. I must say, she has come a long ways sense “Dare Devil.” She is a little more than just a pretty face, at this point. She was highly emotive in a fairly convincing and sympathetic kind of way and it was pleasant to see that. However, out of all of the performances, the two that really captured me, as being the most genuine, were that of Doctor Nurko and the ill daughter Anna, played by Kylie Rogers (“Fathers and Daughers”). It is hard to say just how far she may go as an actress: she is only 12 and is just now beginning to appear in bigger, more mainstream roles. Would it be wrong for me to have some feelings of regional admonition? She IS a fellow native of Dallas, Texas.

In any case, I am certain that those who would value substantiated, scientific evidence for what occurred would find some relatively easy explanation as to what happened to Anna when she took a tumble in that hollowed-out tree, but if those who would put their faith in science, though many of them would not attribute their system as faith-based, wish to be respected for what they accept as the truth, should not the same respect be offered to differing views, in return? Maybe we should all be held to the SAME standard, regardless.

In summation, “Miracles From Heaven” is a sweet, emotional tale; honest in its portrayal, but controversial in its deliberation of agenda and motives. Why should not it be? Religious/spiritual expression has suddenly become a taboo subject in America, Especially if you are from one of the three major religions… Well, four, if you include Atheism. Again, some atheists would say that they are not a religion, but an absence of such. Oh well. At least I can say with some semblance of conviction that I made a real attempt to be as inclusive as possible, despite my own, personal beliefs.

Official Trailer:

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