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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.

Nov 24, 2023



 ‘THE MIRACLE CLUB’ is our kind of uplifting movie. It’s about faith, family, friendship, forgiveness. 

Most critics will call it sentimental and sappy, but we prefer it than most of the crappy movies today that bank mainly on sex and violence.

A period film, the story is set in 1967 in a small community in Dublin.

It revolves mainly on four women. Lily Fox (Maggie Smith) is an old woman who lives with her old husband, Tommy (Niall Buggy.) She continues to grieve for her only son who died of drowning years ago.

Eileen Dunne (Kathy Bates) is a mother and grandmother with a seemingly uncaring husband (Stephen Rea.) Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) is the mother of a boy who doesn’t speak, Daniel (Eric Smith.) 

The fourth is Chrissie (Laura Linney), who has been living in Boston, the U.S.A. for 40 years now. 

She is forced to return to Ireland for the funeral of her mother, from whom she has been estranged after she got pregnant when she was 17. 

From the start, it’s easy to see that Lily and Eileen resent Chrissie’s return as she didn’t even bother to visit her mom for 40 years. 

Old wounds would be reopened. And deep dark secrets will be revealed later, full of regrets and recriminations. 

Lily, Eileen and Dolly all join a contest in church where the prize is a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France.

They want to visit the shrine of the Immaculate Conception famous for its miracles that make people from all over the world come to visit it. 

If you’ve long been planning to visit Lourdes, this is a great way orient yourself with that holy place.

All of them have their own reasons for wanting to join the trip. 

They are surprised when they see Chrissie boarding their bus that is traveling to France. 

The trip eventually proves to be cathartic for everyone, as they are able to confront their past.

Along the way, they are able re-live the traumas they went through from which they can recover only through the power of forgiveness and love.

We will learn why Lily’s son drowned and why Chrissie left Ireland and lived in exile in the U.S.A. for forty long years.

What is nice about the movie is that it is not treated with over-emotionality and it doesn’t come out as a simple sunshiny fairy tale where all their problems are resolved in the end by a miracle.

Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan makes sure that the proceedings remain light, even in the most serious dramatic moments. 

He’s well served  by the ensemble cast as it’s obvious there’s a good connection among the actors, specially the main characters who each get to confront the nagging issues from their past. 

Both Maggie and Kathy are Oscar winners and they really lead the entire cast. 

Kathy even has a musical number and it’s a surprise that she sings that well. 

They and Linney register so well as strong women carrying scars from their past. 

Their portrayal are marked with touching nuances as they show tentative efforts in reaching out to each other. 

Agnes O’Casey has her own moment as the emotional young mother who blames herself for her son Daniel’s disability, which is resolved in a very subtle manner. 

Daniel is played by a very cute adorable child actor who’d bring out the tito or tita in you. 

At first, you’d wonder if he’s really mute. The baby who plays his younger sister is also a winner, such an effortless scene stealer.

Compared to the aging heroines of the “Book Club” movies led by Jane Fonda who had cosmetic work done, Kathy and Maggie both look their parts.

Kathy is totally believable as the woman who has gone through so much as a mother and grandmother. 

Maggie is a screen veteran who is now 88 years old and she has no efforts to hide the creases and wrinkles on her face.

It’s nice to see her again as we’ve been missing her since we last saw her in “Downton Abbey”.