Miracles From Heaven review: dare you question the logic of this universe?

Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah star in this COMPLETELY INCREDIBLE film from the same studio that brought you Heaven Is For Real

Eugenio Derbez, Kylie Rogers and Jennifer Garner in Miracles From Heaven

Film Title: Miracles From Heaven

Director: Patricia Riggen

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch, Eugenio Derbez, Queen Latifah, Brighton Sharbino, Courtney Fansler

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 109 min

Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 16:23

   

It seems the time has come for Jennifer Garner to replay her debt to the Lord. You’d have thought she suffered enough appearing alongside Russell Brand in Arthur, but that sort of empty atonement is not enough.

She must tesifty! Somehow or other (I’m betting an idle midnight prayer before an early audition), Garner has found the need to appear in a Bible-bashy entertainment for Sony’s faith-based offshoot, Affirm Films.

It’s quite nicely made, if you don’t mind films that look like inspirational posters. It’s quite well-acted, if you don’t mind Queen Latifah lowering herself as “sassy” comic relief. Few other nice things can be said sincerely without bearing false witness.

Only in films of a spiritual bent would such an odd structure be allowed. Garner is reliably strong as Christy Beam, the mother of young Anna (Kylie Rogers) who contracts a severe bowel ailment that tests the faith and the finances of her Texan family. Martin Henderson simmers supportively in the background as her veterinarian husband. John Carroll Lynch makes an unlikely pastor. Various trees present themselves before warm clouds in anticipation of the superimposition of heart-expanding Bible quotes.

Christy eventually decides to bring the child to Boston and press herself on the one specialist who might be able to help. Loneliness is averted when she bumps into Queen Latifah’s unstoppable waitress at her hotel.

Based on a true story, the film is sure to kick up emotions in even the hardest hearts, but anybody not bussed to the cinema by their church will find the narrative core weirdly hard to pin down. Look away now if you don’t want the story spoiled.

As you may have suspected from the astonishingly lazy title - only really permissible if they live in Heaven, Texas - the film ultimately encounters a supposed miracle. Anna falls into the bole of a tree, gets transported to a magic land that seems modelled on My Little Pony and emerges cured of her debilitating ailments. This happens in the final 10 minutes.

A crueller man might wonder why they wasted so much money travelling to Boston when Anna could have jumped in a tree right at the beginning. But it is unfair to question the logic of this universe. If you believe, you believe.

No heathen is, however, going to be persuaded by a film that holds back its revelations until all but the already-convinced have left. Even Jesus knew to do the loaves-and-fishes trick before delivering the sermon.