Miracles From Heaven

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October 17, 2016  
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Miracles From Heaven
Miracles From Heaven - Official Trailer (ft. Jennifer Garner)

Based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

Editor review

(Updated: October 17, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Acting 
 
7.0
Script 
 
4.0
Direction / Production / SFX 
 
2.0
Theme 
 
6.0
Personal Rating 
 
5.0

Miracles From Heaven

What do you do when your child gets ill for no apparent reason. One day they are playing football or rolling around in an old tyre and the next they are doubled up in agony and cannot eat without bringing it all up? The natural instinct as a parent is to care for the child, take them to the Doctor or the hospital and let them do their jobs. When the results don't come back with an answer then as a parent you fight hard for the answer and the cure - even when there isn't one! As a Christian it is moments like this that can cause you to seriously question, or even lose your faith, and for Christy Beam, the mother who's memoir this film is based on, it was a time when she found her faith was lacking.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

"Miracles From Heaven" tells the story of the Beam family. They are a white, church-going family from Texas. The theme for the spiritual element for the film is set up as the family sit in Church and the preacher shares a (rather weak) message on life's struggles and being prepared for them with faith (faith in what is not discussed, just faith!) After church there is a Church Barbecue where it is announced that Kevin Beam is about to open his new larger Veterinary center which leads to discussion about finances for the family having put all the equity from their property into this newly expanded business. Later that night things change as Anna, their 10 year old girl is suddenly sick. The story suddenly cuts to a while later as they try and pursue a diagnosis, they have been told many things and the last one is lactose intolerance. When the illness persists they take her to the ER and at this point a rather smug doctor tells them it is just a little acid reflux. At this point Christy flips out at the attending Doctor and insists that he find someone more senior. Eventually they do a full battery of tests and Anna is taken for emergency surgery and it is discovered that she is suffering from a pseudo-obstruction motility disorder. An incurable problem which would lead to her being fed through a tube - with the possibility of a short life expectancy.

At this point Anna is referred to a specialist in this field in Boston, and despite multiple phone calls and letters Christy doesn't hear anything from the Doctor. Eventually she decides to fly to Boston with Anna and wait for an appointment.

Actress Jennifer Garner plays the role of Christy Beam incredibly well, the visit to Boston is her real chance to shine in an incredibly emotional exchange with the hospital employee on the reception. Jennifer carries the bulk of this story and really wrings the emotion out of the character and even when some of the other acting seems rather wooden she is able to bring this character to life. It must be said that Kylie Rogers playing Anna really does deal very well with all the demands of this role, seeing some great depressions and lows, as well as a low key faith sharing scene in the hospital.

Another well-known actress also appears in this movie as a restaurant waitress in Boston who befriends Christy and Anna and takes them on a tour of the City. It is odd that Queen Latifah was chosen to play this role, although she really does lighten the mood considerably after the emotional outpouring at the hospital in the previous scene. However Queen Latifah is a talented actress and this film doesn't really give her the screen time that she deserved and she feels a little wasted in this role.

With a title like "Miracles From Heaven" it is fairly clear from the outset where this film is going to go with the storyline. The faith journey is a painful one for the family disrupting the very cheesy family life. Kevin Beam seems to just have a role in this of looking frustrated and working hard and saying that everything will be OK if they have faith - he doesn't feel like a particularly three dimensional character in the way this film portrays him.

As far as a movie goes it's a good strong story, with some good emotive acting which drags you into the centre of it, thanks mostly to Jennifer Garner and Kylie Rogers. When everything seems to be going so badly wrong for this family it just gets worse. The bills mount up and the pressure and depression too. Looking at Anna writhing in pain on the bed will be very uncomfortable for many, but that was the case for the real Anna. The problem is the script is a bit to sugary sweet at both the beginning and the end that it lacks credibility. The central part of the story pulls along nicely, but the ending is a bit too obvious, the questioning in the church is answered a bit too easily and doesn't stand up to the actual true to life events!

Yes this is inspired by a true story, it doesn't make it a true story in itself. There are many facts here that have been altered to make the movie. For example, Kevin Beam worked as an employee for a veterinary centre, he didn't own it, he wasn't in process of starting a business, this was just added to increase the tension around finances and the home life. Sadly for me the truth that undermines the story is that Christy didn't really just get up and go to Boston and doorstep the Doctor, in fact she spent several months contacting them and praying waiting for an appointment, when they went to Boston they did have an appointment. When you change things like this to make the story move quicker you have to take decisions with care, because there is a lot of weight of the story placed in this, and the decision to change it can make it all collapse around it. Another area this is a problem is the other little girl in the hospital and her Father, which is something the film makers use to silence any doubters. There is just one small problem, these characters are fictional, they are not mentioned in the book and could not provide the eye-witness account that is given.

Oh and really, the church worship band just happens to be Third Day? I'm not sure that's an easy one to swallow either!!

As a movie in it's own right it will draw you in, there is some class acting around through this movie, but it is concentrated in just a few characters - other performances are rather lacking and drag the film down around the bright centre. The trip to Heaven is dealt with quickly as though the film makers didn't know quite what to do with that part of the story either. If you ignore the inconsistencies mentioned previously, you could probably enjoy this film which follows a TV movie format. It is left up to you whether you believe it or not, although adding to the credibility is a short cameo and some pictures of the real family.

I don't doubt that this happened, I believe in a God of miracles. I just wish that they had not tried to prop up the story as in doing so they have left themselves open to undermining the work of God in this families life, and undermining their own faith argument.

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