I know, you’ve just about had it with these poorly produced independent features that preach Christianity. I will admit that Miracles from Heaven falls under that category of the lowliest of the low when compared to the loud, expensive spectacles that Hollywood churns up to financial success. But it’s not the same type of “repent or you’re going to hell” hate speech that God’s Not Dead spits out, nor does it celebrate shallow cultural stereotypes like Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, but rather, it tells a true story open to interpretation that is worth discussion by all viewers.
The family we follow in this picture is the Beam family, composed of a mother, father, and three girls.
Jennifer Garner (Alias, Juno) plays the mother of the family, Christy Beam. This once talented actress is simplified to an annoying vessel of a character who exists just for the other people in her life to hand her crucial information, all while she blames others for her troubles. Yet her whiny nature is true to the natural events, as the stress between her and the Lord comes across plainly.
Martin Henderson plays the father of the family, Kevin Beam. He shows no sorrow toward his daughter, nor is he as involved here as the true story claims. Courtney Fansler plays Adelynn Beam, the youngest child, while Brighton Sharbino plays Abbie, the oldest child. Neither of these girls are convincing in their roles, but there’s at least a slightly more tolerable performance by the miracle child in between them, Anna, played by Kylie Rogers.
Anna goes from freely spinning in a tire with her sisters one minute to puking her way through each long, ungodly night for weeks on end. The symptoms continue, her tummy becomes unnaturally bloated, and it takes a trip to the Boston Children’s Hospital to diagnose the true condition: Pseudo-Obstruction Motility Disorder. All the doctors say that she has no chance of surviving this disease… or does she?
While the oversaturated lens-flare heavy imagery of Texas takes me out of the experience, the use of the camera and script still expresses a clear aura of support that glows within this family. You see it as dad buys his daughter a dog to cheer her up, and they all commit to not eating pizza until they know she’s better. Together, you sense that they’re all secretly praying, “Why me, Lord?”
Christy thus makes a difficult choice to fly to Boston for a doctor who can find a cure. I’ll admit I never felt she had anything valuable to leave in Texas, as all her “friends” there are such dreadful actors, and director Patricia Riggen’s (The 33) poor staging of their scenes failed to add any expected drama. Yet once they make it to Boston, life and joy is poured back into their hopelessness with Boston’s most knowledgeable doctor, who is extra silly with his Elmo tie and pirate impersonations to boot. Funny how the most miserable place for them each to be is where the most smiles erupt.
During their stay, they each befriend an outgoing waitress played by Queen Latifah (Chicago) who takes them on a tour through Boston in her own vehicle that looks fresh out of the dump. The montage of the mother and daughter meeting the city and its famous landmarks tries to be both charming and humorous, but the high commercialism and oversentimentality of it all misses the point of the story entirely. They could have left this whole scene (and waitress) out and nothing would have changed.
Yes, I know, Miracles from Heaven is a deeply flawed Christian film that has no real replay value (and that’s coming from a fellow Christian). But aside from the lack of mastery over story, an unbelievable account of a miracle too good to be true makes this a must-see. The logical would say that a lethal disease is reason enough to give up on Christ, but Miracles from Heaven proves how miracles are hidden in any uncalled for series of events. Miracles may not be in the big things like cancer and death, but it’s always in the little things like pillow fights and pizza parties. Miracles are found in a cross necklace worn at all times, Miracles are found in the father’s response to his daughter’s eternal pain. While we may not know what God has for us, we can still see the miracles in everyday living as long as we cling to faith in his good plan.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #24: Will He Be Able to Drive?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #25: Can He Take Care of Himself?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #26: Will He Get Married Someday?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #27: Will His Children Also Have ASD?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #28: Will He Ever Have Any Friends?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #30: Will He Ever Have a Job?
These are among the countless fears any parents could have when they hear the unfortunate doctor diagnosis, “Yes, your child is autistic.” The parents would start thinking “why me?” or, “What did we do to deserve this?” But it’s not just a diagnosis of autism in a child that could set off these fears, they can come from any disorder or disease that puts either the child’s life or future in jeopardy for the whole family.
Right now I am reading this book called, The Chicken Who Saved Us: The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful, which tells about a woman whose son was diagnosed with autism, and a violent disease that almost took away his life. She writes about her long hours at the hospital with her son, and how the family later benefited from these ungodly trials. This book comes out April 2017, and will be available for purchase on Amazon.
Whether you are religious or not, it’s the greatest level of fear and uncertainty when your hopes and dreams about raising successful kids is halted by something so unexpected and merciless. Even I as somebody on the autism spectrum am filled with uncertainty as to why God created me with a weaker social capacity from everyone else around me.
What Miracles from Heaven teaches us all from this true story is that the seemingly worst things that could happen to us end up bringing the greatest joy with all of our loved ones.
I know it sounds self-contradicting to say such a thing, but let me explain.
My autism has been a challenge for my entire family as I was growing up. I couldn’t tell you how exactly, for I am not my family. But my lack of coherent social skills has set off all kinds of arguments and inconveniences between me, my mother, my father, and my sister. Then my sister, for her high school senior project, chose to write a children’s book about autism called The Kindergarten Adventures of Amazing Grace so that she could learn more about autism. The result was valuable: her finished product was a wonderfully thought out book that I can declare as accurate to the disorder.
Then soon after I graduated high school, I was searching hard for a part-time job to help me earn some spending money while at community college. My dad thought of the brilliant idea for me to contribute to his Six-Word Lessons book series, where I write about my experiences with autism. The result? Now more people are learning about autism from the perspective of somebody on the spectrum; along with my parents’ books, Six-Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces and Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, now everyone in my family is a published author about autism, and a wider spectrum of readers now gets to know more about the disorder.
Thus, because of my inconvenience that was autism, now my family gets to celebrate in our business that has gone on to help all sorts of people with all sorts of problems. Likewise, the same can happen to you.
- We all have something of major inconvenience happen to our lives. Even if you don’t have anything now, a life-threatening illness could still happen at any time. When and if these things happen, instead of saying, “Why me?” Instead find the silver lining and say, “Try me!”
- Know that bad times are only temporary. While autism is a lifelong condition, the bad memories that come out of it would more likely be far and few in between. Remember the good times that far outnumber the bad times.
- Even in a hopeless situation like the death of a family member, know that happiness will always be there. It can be in the comfort of another family member, or it can be in looking back on the wonderful times you had with your deceased relatives. They’re small, but smiles are always there!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
The Christian Post. Annabel Beam on Heaven - 'Miracles From Heaven' Interview. Video. YouTube, 14 Mar 2016. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CgTx7Ei41k>.
Imorales. Ethnic Representations in Film. Digital image. Cited at the Crossroads. Wordpress, 17 Apr 2016. Web. <http://citedatthecrossroads.net/dh330s16/2016/05/17/miracles-from-heaven/>.
Kristin Jarvis Adams, “The Chicken Who Saved Us: The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful.“ Behler Publications, 2017. Print.
Miracles from Heaven. Columbia Pictures. Web. <http://www.miraclesfromheaven-movie.com/>.