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Miracles from Heaven

Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Phoebe Simcock, 22nd Sep 2021
Tags: Life Review Biography Drama Family

Miracles from Heaven is a 2016 film starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah. It’s based on a true story about a young girl suffering with a terminal illness who was later cured of the incurable disease. 

The young girl, Annabelle, leaves her life in God’s hands but struggles mentally and physically with suddenly being so ill. Her parents, Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) and Kevin Beam (Martin Henderson) do their best to make her comfortable but struggle to keep faith themselves.  

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When Christy goes to Boston to see a renowned children’s doctor without an appointment she fights to save Annabelle. In Boston, she meets Angela (Queen Latifah) who acts as their tour guide around Boston and whilst on their tour Christy finally gets a call that the doctor can see Annabelle. When all hope seems lost, Annabelle travels home and tries to enjoy life with her family. The ending seems inevitable, until Annabelle’s sister suggests climbing a tree, and suddenly the plot takes a completely different turn.

Once again, I made it my mission not to read any other reviews or the plot before watching this film so each scene was completely fresh to me without knowing the ending. Sometimes this is a valuable thing to do, other times it rarely affects anything. In this case, it was the best thing I could have done. 

I could not be prepared for how deeply sad it was.

The archetypal nature of the opening scenes lead me to believe that a sadness was coming, but I could not be prepared for how deeply sad it was. The film opened with a very well-known scene in the film world, but a little known scene in real life, the perfect family. 

The Beam family galloped amongst each other on a large farm house estate, and joined with family and friends in church with the main worry being money to support Kevin’s future as a vet. Had I not expected a large twist, I probably would have abandoned it there and then for its excessively light hearted, unrealistic and saccharine quality alone, but the pace changes very quickly to unearth a rollercoaster of emotions.

Miracles from Heaven
Image Credit: Sony Pictures

This change of pace came with a dramatic thud when it seemed that Annabelle was in a lot of pain, and had been misdiagnosed by multiple doctors. This part I found particularly distressing, as if Christy Beam had accepted the doctors diagnosis and not challenged it, Annabelle would not have received the proper care of pain relief that she desperately needed. 

We watch the family cry together and grieve for their daughter who is still alive and this is not an easy watch.  

The much needed comic relief came from Queen Latifah.

The much needed comic relief came from Queen Latifah, who played fun loving waitress Angela who gives them a tour of Boston. She was easily my favourite character and I’m now desperate to be her friend. She gives the Beam family something to look forward to and gave a small glint of joy within what could be described as a very hope crushing film.

Overall, I found this film to be an epitome of ebb and flow, with moments of joy and relief mixed with what felt like ongoing sadness. Be prepared to question the morals and believability of the story as sometimes the realism is lacking but it is one to think about!

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