Photo Credit: People
While not all critics agree, Miracles From Heaven, the latest in a recent wave of mainstream faith-based films starring Jennifer Garner, opened up on Wednesday, March 16 to a diverse array of opinions from negative to highly positive.
Audiences gave it an A or A+ CinemaScore throughout all demos. Faith Driven Consumer gave it four out of five stars, and it’s earned a decent 57% fresh grade on Rotten Tomatoes – a significantly higher rating than most faith-based films have received in the past.
But if you think it’s only for the staunchly religious, the Virginian-Pilot says that it “even works for those of little faith,” noting that while it’s “centered on Christian-based faith, it argues more broadly for the power of everyday miracles.”
Katie Walsh summarizes, “While the film runs a bit too long, and the heartstring tugging becomes overwrought, overall, this family melodrama about a devastating illness and the freak accident that cured it is surprisingly effective, even for those of little faith. There are those who can choose to see it as unassailable evidence that heaven exists, but the film reaches beyond that audience and provides confirmation of the more human miracles that exist in everyday life, if you choose to see them.”
The dramatization is said to be a “real” story. It stars Kylie Rogers as Anna Beam, a girl who is living with a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food. Despite the dire diagnosis, her devoted mom Christy, played by Garner, does anything and everything she can to find a way to save her daughter. It all changes in an instant when Anna tells an amazing story of a visit to heaven after surviving a headlong fall out of a tree. Her family and doctors become even more baffled when the young girl begins to show signs of recovering from her fatal condition following the trauma.
While the movie seems to have earned quite a few big fans, religious and otherwise, not all appreciate what it has to offer. Entertainment Weekly’s Joey Nolfi writes, “Accepting such an event as a ‘miracle’ is a hard pill to swallow for those who might not subscribe to the religious foundation the film stands upon.”
Nolfi gave it a D-.
The Guardian’s Nigel M. Smith, who gave the movie two out of five stars, says that the faith-based family drama “essentially boils down to Christian propaganda. Patricia Riggen’s film, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, is no more true to life than The Conjuring, a horror film about demons that also made the same claim to entice filmgoers.”