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Title: Miracles From Heaven

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:82

Again, I give my disclaimer about faith based films. I tend to be harshly critical of them due to my own faith. Very simply put when you’re very familiar with the source material weak scripts and poor theology make for a VERY frustrating viewing experience. Not to mention the overly syrupy sledgehammer that comes with the message making it oh so excruciating for believers and non-believers alike. “Miracles From Heaven” is definitely a faith based film, but seems to not be very syrupy at all in comparison, and while the message is still there as plain as day, it doesn’t try to abuse the viewer by ramming it down their throats with a spike. Will people of faith get more out of the film due to their proximity to the religious experience of young Ana Beam? Most certainly, but it is still a sweet and endearing film for the whole family as long as you’re receptive to the religious persuasions that the film is based around.

Telling the true story of Anabel Beam (Kylie Rogers), based upon the memoirs by Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner in the film) and brought to the screen by Randy Brown, the film takes a look at a family of faith overcome by tragedy. Young Anabel Beam is your average little girl, and the Beam family is your average Texas family until Ana is diagnosed with a rather stomach disease, leaving her unable to digest food and put in incredible pain day and night. Hitting every doctor they possibly can, Christy and husband Kevin (Martin Henderson) desperately search for a doctor that can treat their little girl. Finally settling in on a high class specialist in Boston, Christy travels cross country to visit this Dr. Nurko in order on force the situation on him and admit Anabel.

While there is almost NO chance of Dr. Nurko taking in new patients, a miracle in the form of a random acceptance allows the family to have a slight chance at hope. However that hope seems to be futile as even Dr. Nurko can only do so much for the incurable disease. Medications only work partially and the diagnosis is basically a “lets alleviate her symptoms as much as we can before the inevitable happens. Plagued by her own failure at faith, Christy sobs her heart into her pillow, while her husband slaves away at his veterinary practice trying to somehow come up with the money to pay for the incredibly expensive specialist care. With no hope in sight, one large miracle makes its way down the vine in one of the most unexpected ways.

“Miracles from Heaven” is most DEFINITELY a faith based film, and it caters to that audience with a heavy dose of church going and faith in Christ, but it is mostly lacking from that syrupy sort of propaganda teaching that seems to permeate many faith inspired stories. While I tend to come from ma heavily conservative denomination of Christianaity that doesn’t exactly deal with modern day miracles, I am fully accepting of the fact that God continues to work in mysterious and powerful ways, despite the age of prophets and miracles being at a general end. There were a few flickers of liberal Christianity thrown in there, and some of the dialog for Anabel felt like it was formulated for a much older adult, but the overall story is incredibly sweet and heart wrenching.

One of the major selling factors for the film was the fact that there were ACTUAL acting stars in the film, and not just a bunch of low C grade actors, or church members hired on to take up the heavy role of acting. I was honestly REALLY leery of the film due to some really poor examples of modern religious films, but the movie really worked for me. It’s emotionally impactful, and everyone involved with the script REALLY sold the tragedy aspect of it. Jennifer Garner’s anguish and motherly love was palpable to the point that I was actually tearing up quite a bit watching her suffer along with Anabel. Even the secondary actors really pulled it off and there were a few surprise guests (such as Queen Lafifah as Angela, or John Carroll Lynch as Pastor Scott). Don’t get me wrong, there were a few overly sappy moments in the movie, but the journey itself was highly satisfying and emotionally powerful for a family man such as myself.


Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images

Video :4.5stars:
Benefitting from the wonders of digital photography, “Miracles from Heaven” sports a great looking 1.85:1 encoded Blu-ray disc. The colors lean towards the warm end of the spectrum, looking almost hot in their ruddy and heavily saturated colors. Skin tones tend to lean a bit towards the red end of the color spectrum and there is a burnished look to the film that mimics those down home southern romance films from Hallmark at times. Black levels are great, with only a few bits here and there that suffer from crushed shadow detail, and the rest of the image is just awash with detail from the creases and worry lines on Jenner Garner’s face, to the lavishly decorated country homestead that he Beam’s live on. There’s some minute softness in some of the interior night shots, but that is combated by brilliantly light outdoor scenes that make you want to move out to the Texas countryside.

Audio :4stars:
The film’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is warm and inviting, but ultimately is limited by the simple fact that it’s a dialog heavy drama. Vocals are crisp and clear, with no sounds of distortion or imbalanced among the track, and the dynamic range is fairly mild. There’s a distinctly down home Country gospel flair to the score, which acts as the more energetic moments of the film. There are a few other bits of activity that spark surround usage, such as the Boeing 747 taking off from the runway, or the general hubbub of Boston city while Angela takes the pair of girls on a tour. Simple, yet effective, the track is nearly flawless in its presentation, and really the only negative thing I can say about it is that it is a fairly front heavy track that depends on dialog to do that heavy lifting.

Extras :3stars:

• Miracles Abound: The Making of Miracles from Heaven
• Bearing Witness
• Creating Heaven: Concept Art Exploration
• "Your Words" Music Montage
• Filmmaker Audio Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Accounts from Annabel

Overall: :4stars:

“Miracles from Heaven” is a sweet and emotive film that really captures the essence of a miraculous experience by the Beam family. I wanted to dislike the movie going into it based upon past experiences with the genre, but was really won over by the heartfelt story and solid acting that is really a tear jerker from beginning to end. While there is a few flaws and lower budget hiccups to the script, it doesn’t delve into the overly cheesy world of hammer beating that so many other messages are delivered by in the same field. Audio and video were great, and there is a surprising amount of behind the scenes extras that really delved more into the real life story of the Beams. Recommended.

Additional Information:

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson
Directed by: Patricia Riggen
Written by: Christy Beam (Book), Randy Brown (Screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Studio: Sony
Rated: PG
Runtime: 109 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 12th, 2016

Buy Miracles From Heaven On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Good Watch

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