American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Bring tissues. Because whether you’re the faithful target audience for “Miracles From Heaven,” a non-believer or someone in the mass agnostic middle ground, you may find it hard to hold back the tears during various points in this real-life tale. And they’ll be earned.
This could be the first faith-based film to truly cross over and find both critical acclaim and a mainstream audience beyond just the church-going crowd. And there have been a lot of them lately which have opened with varying degrees of success, from cheesy bombs like “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” and the Nicolas Cage version of “Left Behind” to films that have been box-office hits (if not critical ones) like “God’s Not Dead” and “Heaven Is for Real.”
“Miracles From Heaven” shares the same producers as that last film, as well as some of the same redemptive, inspirational ideas and the real-life hook. It’s based on the 2015 memoir of the same name by Christy Beam, whose daughter, Anna, suddenly suffered from a rare intestinal disorder—and then, just as suddenly, was cured in the craziest of ways.
Much of what makes the film work is its emotionally demanding performance from the ever-accessible Jennifer Garner. She gets a big arc to work within, revealing warmth and vulnerability, grit and determination as Christy. She asks all the existential questions any of us would in the midst of such a faith-testing trauma.