As soon as I see a film is of the Christian or religious slant then my doubts rear up immediately. I just find it all too much. But with Miracles From Heaven, directed by Patricia Riggen, there is no heavy handedness about that aspect of the story. Meaning you are not hit over the head with it. It is an aspect, yes, but there are several others that you can sink your teeth into if you are not an overly religious person.
First off, it is touching. How can it not be? A large part of the story deals with a child in pain, suffering and potentially dying. That sounds rather dark and hard to take, but the way the story is presented there is plenty of light and hope. The fact that there are people in the world around here….strangers in the beginning…who are so kindhearted/caring that they try to bring some levity to young Anna (played by Kylie Rogers) and her mother’s (played by Jennifer Garner) lives. It makes you think, even in these seemingly dark times, that there are still wonderful and loving people in this world.
Second, it really is an ode to a mother’s love for her children. Christy is relentless. Always working to make sure her young, sick daughter gets the help she needs. Never willing to take no for an answer. It is a different and difficult role for Jennifer Garner. Besides the religious slant, it is the first time I have seen her as a mother and in such a mature role. Plenty of asked of her with the nose to the grindstone work ethic of the woman along with the fact that she is suffering alongside her daughter.
It is a side of illness or having a sick child that those not going through it don’t often think of. Besides the emotions (and there are plenty of that here) the work it takes. The toll it has on the other children as they feel like they are second class citizens within the family unit. The financial burden it puts on the family in most cases. It is in full view here.
Because the acting is fairly good here the whole story does not feel too contrived. Not as emotionally manipulative as it could have. Even the younger actors (the family has three daughters) are very natural and believable.
Film is suitable for the whole family. Even with the heavier subject matter. Kids can use it to help understand illness and because of the young actors they can relate to what is going on.