Thursday, March 17, 2016

Miracles from Heaven Review

I've been on a roll with my religious movie reviews recently. This will be my third in a row and fourth in the last month. But like I've said in all of them, it's Easter time and this Easter is especially loaded with a ton of studios, big and small, wanting to get in the game. I always try to review as many of these as I can because I don't think that IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes are trustworthy sources when it comes to religious films. Anti-religious trolls have to make sure that they destroy every religious film on IMDb and critics on Rotten Tomatoes are usually pretty harsh as well. Case in point. I thought Heaven is for Real from 2014 was a pretty good religious movie, but it has a 5.8 on IMDb and a 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Why do I bring that example up out of all the religious films out there? Because Miracles from Heaven is from the same studio and it's just as good, if not better than Heaven is for Real and it's currently at 5.1 on IMDb and barely fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 61 percent. So if you were a fan of Heaven is for Real, make sure you ignore all those reviews out there that are hating on this and make Miracles from Heaven a must-see.

I do have to make sure I play a bit of trailer watch here before I tell you what this movie is about, which was the same problem that Heaven is for Real had. It was a great story, but they literally spoiled the entire plot in the trailer. Thus when I saw the movie, I felt I was seeing it for the second or third time, despite it only being my first. Still enjoyable, but frustrating. When I saw the trailer for Miracles from Heaven and noticed it was from the same people that did Heaven is for Real, I was really nervous that they just did the exact same thing. I felt like I just watched the whole movie. AND I WAS RIGHT! Holy freaking annoying. The people in charge of these trailers should be grounded. I really don't know why they feel the need to tell their whole story in the trailer in order to get people out to see their movie. Tease us for crying out loud. We might be able to guess how this going to turn out, but let us guess. Make the ending a mystery. It is perfectly fine to do that. The premise here is a young girl is diagnosed with a rare intestinal disease that has no cure. Had they not spoiled the ending, I actually would've second-guessed myself as to what was going to happen based on the direction they were taking the movie. Disappointing.

As was the case with Heaven is for Real, I'm not here to review a trailer. I'm here to review a movie. Despite a frustrating trailer, this movie is fantastic. In fact, it does exactly what I've been begging religious movies to do. This is a very realistic, human story with a ton of emotion. The Kendrick brothers specifically need to take some notes from this. All of their movies tell very simple, black and white stories based on good principles. Take last year's War Room for example. Prayer is a good thing that I encourage. But that whole movie told the message that if you pray with a sincere heart, all your problems will immediately go away. Your husband will get deathly ill when he's about to cheat on you. After you've learned to trust in God, your husband will immediately follow. If you've done something illegal, your boss will completely forgive you and won't press charges, even if you deserve 15-20 years in prison for what you've done. Yes, I believe in miracles, but that's a frustrating angle to take. What if someone prays and their spouse still cheats on them? What if their business still fails or their football team still loses or their spouse still gets fired and goes to prison? Does that person just conclude that God doesn't exist because their prayers weren't answered? That would be sad.

Towards the end of my War Room review, I asked for there to be a faith-based film that dove into the issue of why bad things happen to good people. I got it. That's exactly what Miracles from Heaven is all about. Towards the beginning of the movie, they even address this directly. Following the girl getting sick, some members of the congregation approach the mother and tell her that they've been praying for her daughter. This is all good and dandy, but then they probe her and ask her why her daughter is not healed yet. Who's the one sinning? Her, her husband, or her daughter. This makes the mom really mad and she stops going to church because she cant stand being around those people anymore. I actually found this fantastic because it dealt with the honest human emotion that people experience when going through tragedy like this. These parents aren't perfect by any means, but they are honestly doing their best to be good, faithful people and raise their kids right. And they are doing a pretty dang good job. Yet they still have this horrible thing happen to them and it's not solved right away by having faith or turning to God. They already had faith and they were already turned to God. Yes. This happens. Life sucks. We don't know why things happen, but we do know that God lets bad things happen to good people.

Yes, this movie tells the story about an amazing miracle that happened to a family. Yes, this does happen. Often God tests our faith for a while and then after we've endured enough, he decides to show us a great miracle. Or there are times when he shows us this miracle in order to show others that he does exist. But note the title of this movie. It's not called A Miracle from Heaven. It's called Miracles from Heaven. Plural. Many miracles. And do you know what, miracles happen every single day in our life. We just need to be looking for them. And they're not always obvious. A person walking up to you and deciding to be your friend can be seen as a miracle. Someone saying hi could be a miracle. An act of service could be a miracle. A stranger taking a day off of work to show you around in a new city could be a miracle. Oftentimes we are so stressed out at all the bad things happening around us that it's easy to ignore all the small things that are actually going in our favor. That's what this movie is all about. Yes, big miracles can happen. But it's the everyday small miracles happening all around us that we should really be focusing on. Even if things don't go our way, we can still be positive and faithful. This hit me really hard as I was watching and actually got me super emotional. Major props to this movie for that.

Because of all this, I would say that this is a better written story than most faith-based movies that you see today. It gives honest, human emotion instead of the cheesy, spiritual preaching that sometimes happens in a faith-based movie. Hitting this home are the fantastic performances given by pretty much everyone. I almost can't just single one or two people out because everyone does great in this movie. Jennifer Garner is the lead here, so let's start with her. She's the mother who has to deal with her young daughter going through this as well as dealing with the criticism from some of the congregation who put the blame on her for not being faithful enough. Man does she have some phenomenal moments in this movie as she sells this role perfectly. Then we have her husband played by Martin Henderson who does his best to be calm and collected through all this to keep everyone together. He didn't have as many emotional moments, but yet I almost liked him just as much. Our little girl is played by Kylie Rogers and holy cow is she great! She's essentially the perfect little girl and thus you really feel for her as she has to go through this all, especially in moments where she says she just wants to die because she doesn't want to have to deal with the pain anymore. Excellent! We also have Queen Latifa, Euginio Derbez, and Wayne Pére all as excellent side characters.

Overall, despite me knowing everything that was going to happen going in because of the trailer, I still really enjoyed myself. This is an excellent faith-based film that actually does what I've been wanting a faith-based film to do. I've grown tired of the preachy, faith-based films that paint everything as black and white because there's a lot of gray when it comes to things like this. Bad things do happen to good people and I think it's important to know what to do and how to react in situations like these, even if life doesn't get better. Regardless of what happens in life, if you have an optimistic, positive attitude, you can find all the little miracles happening around you that will make you appreciate life. You can remain faithful through tragedy and not blame God when bad things happen. If you falter in your faith or you get frustrated, that's okay. It happens to everyone. It's called human. You just eventually have to learn how to pick yourself back up. And when the big miracle does come you'll be able to appreciate it even more because you knew how it was to be down in the dumps. That's what this movie is all about and I really appreciated it. This is definitely worth checking out this Easter if you are searching for a good faith-based film to watch. My grade for Miracles from Heaven is an 8/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment