MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN – A Review by John Strange

By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
True medical miracles are vanishingly rare.  This is the story of one that occurred to the Beam family in Burleson, Texas in 2011.  10-year-old Anna (Kylie Rogers) complains of stomach pain that doubles her over with its strength.
Her mother, Christy (Jennifer Garner) takes to doctor after doctor.  None of the doctors can determine the true cause of the illness.  They call it everything including acid reflux and lactose intolerance.  Christy argues with the doctors and demands to know exactly what is causing he pain.
The doctor finally relented and had additional tests run.  They discovered her intestines were impacted and there were severe lesions.  The doctors had to do immediate surgery to save the young girls life.
Finally, Anna has a diagnosis of pseudo-obstruction motility disorder.  The disorder is a syndrome where there is serious impairment in the ability of the intestines to push food through.  Her intestines are simply unable to process the food she was eating.
This forced her to be fed via a feeding tube.  This is a very painful procedure that Anna was forced to endure each day just to stay alive.  It is heartbreaking to see the pain in the young girls eyes when the tube is removed!
The family is told that the disorder is not curable at the current time.  Anna’s parents are not willing to accept this.  Christy and her family are really tight.  They are willing to do whatever it takes to get Anna well.  Christy searches for the best doctor to help Anna.  She finds that Dr. Nurko (Eugenio Derbez) in Boston is the leading authority on the condition.
This is a church-going family and their church is heavily involved in their lives.  Their pastor, Scott (John Carroll Lynch), is a good man.  He and most of the congregation are good folks, always ready to listen or help.  Like the congregation, the Beam family has a strong faith in God.
Their finances are tight.  They had recently refinanced their home to build up Kevin’s (Martin Henderson) veterinary practice.  Despite this, Christy is determined to get an appointment with the doctor.  When she can’t stand it any longer, she and Anna get on a plane to Boston to confront him.
This film’s message is strong and right up front.  Faith and prayer can move mountains, but just as importantly, it can move hearts and minds.  This young lady has no reason to want to live, enduring the intense pain she is subjected to daily.  But deal with it is just what she does.  She even gives others a taste of her faith.
But her faith is as sorely tried as is Christy’s.  Dr. Nurko, a brilliant physician and a wonderful man does all he can to help Anna but it just isn’t enough.  When the miracle happens and Anna is healed after the fall three stories that somehow cures her condition, no one is happier than the good doctor.  He doesn’t understand it and can’t bring himself to say she is cured in so many words.
This film is wonderful.  The story and the characters are taken from the true story.  The talent and the acting bring it home.  It doesn’t matter what your faith (or lack of faith) is.  I defy you to not feel for Anna and her family.  I defy you to not have your heart and soul lifted in the scenes at the Boston Aquarium as we see this sick little girl watching the sea life floating overhead with a look of wonder in her face.
I also have to praise the work of Queen Latifah as Boston waitress, Angela, who shows Anna and Christy that there are good people everywhere.  And for John Carroll Lynch as Pastor Scott whose portrayal is spot on.  I don’t know if he was raised in a southern church but if not, he had some great coaches.
This is a feel good film that will do well in the theaters and will be added to church libraries and those of many homes so that it can be watched again and again.
One note for those of you who tend to race out as soon as the film is over, stick around and get to see the real Beam family!
Directed by: Patricia Riggen
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch, Kylie Rogers, with Eugenio Derbez and Queen Latifah
MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic material, including accident and medical images)
Selig Rating: Full Price
Runtime: 109 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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