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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 20, 2016

Miracles From Heaven Movie Review: An Inspirational Movie Perfect For The Whole Family This Holy Week

“MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN” is a faith based movie from the makers of “Heaven is for Real” which, like it, is also a true story about a child being miraculously healed after a near-death experience where they get to feel the presence of our Creator. Both believers and non-believers will find the story of Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) and her family from Burleson, Texas very touching, so be sure to bring a hankie when you watch it as you might not be able to hold back your tears in this real life story. We ourselves were moved when, at film’s closing, the members of the real family on whose inspirational story the film was based were shown on camera.

Christy wrote a memoir on the experiences their family went through when the middle of her three daughters, Anna (Kylie Rogers), is diagnosed with a rare intestinal motility disorder that makes it impossible for her to eat and she’s always in pain. She and her husband Kevin (Martin Henderson) have to go through a lot just to make sure the 10-year old Anna gets treatment from the top gastroenterology specialist, Dr. Samuel Nurko (Eugenio Derbez), in a children’s hospital in Boston.

Anna’s ailment takes its toll on their once happy home. Kevin, a veterinarian, can hardly make ends meet and has to take care of their two other daughters while Christie and Anna are in Boston where they are befriended by a kind-hearted waitress (Queen Latifah) who takes them around the city and its fantastic New England Aquarium. Later, it will be revealed that this friendship, along with many other acts of love and kindness shown by generous people who help the family in one way or another, is central to them theme of the movie that miracles happen everyday, without us even noticing it. Even the friendly cheerful sunshiny doctor Dr. Nurko is a miracle in himself.

One of the most heartwarming scenes in the movie shows Anna bonding with a sick girl in the hospital. The girl and her dad are non-believers but Anna will have a profound effect on them, especially on the father. But the biggest miracle in the movie is when Anna goes home, resigned to die, goes up a big tree with her older sister Abbie, then falls inside the tree’s hollow trunk which is three stories high. She gets stuck inside for hours. When firefighter finally got her out, Anna does not only miraculously survive the fall but is also permanently healed of her intestinal disease.

Later on, she tells her parents that she felt herself leaving her body and going to this celestial place where Someone tells her she will be okay and she should return to her family. The way this is presented is quite understated. The film says it’s up to you how you’d interpret this wondrous moment experienced by Anna. It will all depend on your own spiritual beliefs. The vital element here is, of course, your faith (or lack of it). If you believe, this movie will be a validation of your beliefs. If you don’t believe, then not even hundreds of movies of this kind will help in your redemption.

The film works well with the help of its very competent actors, especially Kylie Rogers as the suffering Anna who doesn’t make the slightest trace of pa-cute very common in most precocious child actors. She will surely win your heart and your sympathy. Jennifer Garner as the mom also delivers her emotionally challenging role with much warmth and determination. We can really empathize with her and feel her frustration as she asks all the big existential questions when she doubted her faith and stops praying.

The movie is directed by Patricia Riggen, who also did “The 33”, the true story of Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days. She manages to keep the audience emotionally engaged all throughout the movie. This is a clean family friendly film with no sex, no profanity, no violence. If you’re looking for a good and meaningful movie you can take all your loved ones to this Holy Week, “Miracles from Heaven” definitely is it.