Miracles from Heaven was released in theaters on March 16, 2016. It comes from the same producers behind Heaven is for Real, which debuted in theaters July 2014. Both films are adaptations of memoirs written by parents who had a child that visited heaven after near-death experiences. As a believer and someone who loves hearing stories of hope, I am incredibly pleased that so many filmmakers are beginning to see the value in creating movies like these.
Miracles from Heaven tells the real-life story of the Beam family whose lives are turned upside down when their middle daughter is diagnosed with a terminal illness. A freak accident occurs at the family home and not only is the young girl miraculously healed, but she tells her parents that she visited heaven and spoke with God. The film follows the challenges that the Beams face, from the testing of their faith to the miraculous way that God works in their lives and allows them to share their story with the world.
The film is set in Texas where the Beams live and there are a plethora of shots that show off the sprawling land and beauty in their quiet farm life. This was a very nice touch to the overall film and not just for aesthetic purposes. Giving life to the setting helps the audience relate to the Beams and understand that before tragedy struck they were a normal family who never expected to face heartache.
Miracles from Heaven stars Jennifer Garner (Alias, 13 going on 30) and Martin Henderson (Grey’s Anatomy, The Ring) as Christy and Kevin Beam. Both are absolutely fantastic in the film and bring such authenticity to their roles as a loving couple experiencing troubling times. The on-screen chemistry between them did not appear contrived in any way and neither did their portrayal as loving parents to their three daughters.
However, I found the real jewel of the film to be Kylie Rogers (The Whispers), who portrays their sick daughter. She may be a young actress, but Rogers delivers an extremely profound performance as the precocious Anna. She is a delight whenever she appears onscreen. There are many scenes that take place in a hospital, but one in particular stands at the forefront. Feeling overwhelmed by the excruciating pain she constantly suffers, Anna tells her mother that she wants to die. As Rogers writhes in bed and Garner falls to pieces by her side, I dare you not to shed a tear of sympathy for her.
The heart of this film is of course found in the underlying message that miracles are happening around us each and every day. In order to be aware of them we just have to be paying attention. God’s love for His people is mentioned throughout the film, as is the name of Jesus, but this movie doesn’t try to convert anyone to Christianity. It encourages you to believe, but it is never preachy or heavy-handed.
The beauty in this strategy is that a seed is planted and a conversation about faith will organically arise among movie-goers once the film ends. I think that this approach is highly effective and hopefully it encourages other filmmakers to continue producing heart-warming, faith-based content such as this.
I would be misleading you if I didn’t express that this film is an absolute tear-jerker. Thankfully, some humor is interjected once Queen Latifah’s (Hairspray, Secret Life of Bees) character Angela is introduced. She is warm, colorful and witty and is a bright spot in Christy and Anna’s lives. The same can be said for Eugenio Derbez (Girl in Progress, La Familia P.Luche) who portrays Anna’s physician Dr. Nurko. Derbez is not to be overlooked as he is a bright spot in the film as well, playing a caring doctor with a compassionate heart.
Even though iMDb and Fandango list this film as being 1 hr and 49 minutes, it will feel much longer than that. There are a few scenes that seem extraneous, but I believe that the filmmakers wanted to tell as much of the Beams’ story as possible. Moreover, some of the scenes that seem unnecessary in the moment are actually vital to the overall story line.
In a time of such uncertainty and turmoil, Miracles from Heaven provides a reminder about the importance of faith, prayer and family.
Miracles from Heaven also stars John Carroll Lynch, Brighton Sharbino, and Courtney Fansler. It is directed by Patrica Riggen and scripted by Randy Brown.
To order the book Miracles from Heaven and see what the Beam family is up to today be sure to visit: http://www.christybeam.com. The movie is also now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.