I just returned from viewing Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner. You probably saw the TV commercial for it – a little girl gets an incurable illness, then falls from a tree and miraculously gets well. Before watching the movie, I thought the producers made a big mistake by telling the “whole story” in the commercial trailer. Frankly, I was expecting the typical “religious” film: maudlin, trite, and corny, with actors who barely had their lines memorized. Boy, was I wrong!
Before I go any further, I want to be the first to say that Jennifer Garner deserves an Academy Award for acting. She showed us exactly what a mother in crisis looks like and feels. When she was pleading with a reluctant doctor to examine her daughter there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.
My wife remarked that one could tell that Garner is a mother in real life; she couldn’t be so convincing if she wasn’t. She used every ounce of her motherhood experience to demonstrate that she is also a terrific actress, and the rest of the cast supported her admirably. This truly is a very enjoyable, satisfying, and entertaining film.
Personally I would have preferred more of a direct emphasis on “the four spiritual laws” and the plan of salvation, but that would have made the film everything I don’t like –predictable and preachy. And that probably have limited its audience to “preaching to the choir.”
Miracles had enough God, Jesus, faith, heaven, and potluck dinners to leave no doubt as to its Christian perspective. But this film also made one think. How do believers handle the struggles, the doubt, and the anger of real life? This was a family just like us – messy Christians trying to make it through a dreadful situation.
I could actually see myself attending their church. The attendees were regular people, not the Hollywood versions of Christians. The pastor was a normal, thoughtful, rather effective leader of his flock, preaching, visiting the sick, making announcements at the potluck dinner, and having fun with the children. It’s the first “Hollywood movie church” that I would attend – particularly since Mac Powell from Third Day was the worship leader. You are going to love the worship songs.
Obviously, the thrust of the film focuses on the events between the daughter getting sick and then falling out of the tree. How could a loving God allow people to suffer? Why doesn’t God answer our prayers? Does God really care about our pain? This family managed to grasp a vital spiritual truth: their daughter’s healing was only a single event in their spiritual walk, for God was displaying the miracles of His love for them (and us) every day.
Bottom line, if you enjoy a quality story without sex, violence, and profanity, you will thoroughly enjoy Miracles From Heaven. And don’t forget to bring your Kleenex.