Miracles from Heaven

Critics Consensus

Miracles from Heaven makes the most out of an outstanding performance from Jennifer Garner, but it isn't quite enough to keep this faith-based drama from preaching to the choir.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5

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Movie Info

When Christy discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter's healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired. Based on a true story.

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Jennifer Garner
as Christy Beam
Kylie Rogers
as Anna Beam
Martin Henderson
as Kevin Beam
Courtney Fansler
as Adelyn Beam
John Carroll Lynch
as Pastor Scott
Eugenio Derbez
as Dr. Nurko
Gregory Alan Williams
as Dr. Joe Hester
Erica Allen McGee
as Church Lady
Brandon Spink
as Billy Snyder
Rhoda Griffis
as Church Lady
Bruce Altman
as Dr. Burgi
Zach Sale
as ER Doctor
Gwen Waymon
as School Nurse
Kenny Alfonso
as Dr. Dorsi
John Crow
as News Reporter
J.M. Longoria
as Airline Attendant
Maia Moss-Fife
as Pre-Op Nurse
Matt Mercurio
as Paramedic
Suehyla El-Attar
as Receptionist
Norma Alvarez
as Cafeteria Worker
Anne Holt
as News Anchor
Kim Banta
as Vet Receptionist
Emerald Robinson
as Woman with Big Hair
Judd Lormand
as Church Man
Mac Powell
as Lead Singer
Christina Bach Norman
as Boston Hospital Nurse
Tara Lee
as Waiting Room Nurse
Brian Bremer
as Grumpy Waiter
Christy Beam
as Real Christy
Annabel Beam
as Real Anna
Kevin Beam
as Real Kevin
Abigail Beam
as Real Abbie
Jose Garza
as CT Technician
Adelynn Beam
as Real Adelynn
Sunshine Bartell
as Boston Hospital Nurse
Morgan Burch
as Woman's Daughter
Harvest Parker
as Singer/Vocalist
John Andrew
as Impatient Man
Jennifer Finley
as Impatient Woman
Barbara Lynn Vincent
as Ticket Line Woman
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Critic Reviews for Miracles from Heaven

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (25)

Audience Reviews for Miracles from Heaven

"Miracles are everywhere." Jennifer Garner stars in the faith based film Miracles from Heaven. Based on a true story, when her daughter develops a life threatening digestive disorder Christy Beam struggles with her faith and goes to extremes to get her daughter medical care. Garner gives a very strong performance, as does child actress Kylie Rogers, and they have great chemistry as mother and daughter. Also, the script is especially well-written and never feels preacher or hockey (like a lot of faith based films do). And while there's a bit of melodrama, it's fairly restrained. A touching and powerful film, Miracles from Heaven is a compelling story about love and community.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Great film...kinda cheesy at times, but ultimately a fascinating story and worth checking out.

Stephen Skudlarek
Stephen Skudlarek

Super Reviewer

Heaven help audiences who don't enjoy being hit over the head like a Whack-A-Mole with a movie's moral because - for all of the good graces of its cast and intentions - the better-than-most but nonetheless hopelessly syrupy Bible-thumper known as Miracles from Heaven accomplices just this. If you believe in Miracles, stick with a certain sports drama about ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics called, well, Miracle. This tidy bar of soap, however, forcefeeds the issue at hand, which gets empathy from a loyal flock but ingratiates the flocking rest. Sure, this movie has a target audience: stringent Christians. They came to the cinema as believers and would inarguably leave the cinema believers even if they were inexorably locked in and shown a Faces of Death marathon instead. What about other moviegoers? There are many faith-ful moviegoers, the writer of this review included. Why do faith-based movies have to be so on-the-nose when life just isn't so cut-n-dry? But the family at the center always does nicey nice activities together, says nicey nice things all of the time, and makes nicey nice friends like Queen Latifah very easily. In this PG-rated drama based on the book by Christy Beam, a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident. Even when life lobs hardball issues like crippling financial woes at them, these plot points get handled in a softball manner--not in a "don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff" kind of way either but by addressing them and then not dealing with them at all. Life presents us with difficult challenges, as does our belief systems. Illustrated Bible Stories work for many when they are young and eat Play-Doh but offering them the live action equivalent as adults seems kind of demeaning. When one character says, "I've been a doctor for 25 years (and have) never seen anything like it," he's very wrong. EVERY faith based movie seems to pan out similarly to this. Admittedly, this one rings a tad truer thanks to the players. Jennifer Garner throws her all into the goings-on but, as well meaning as they are, an Illustrated Bible Story is an Illustrated Bible Story. Bottom line: Beginning to See the Blight

Jeff Boam
Jeff Boam

Super Reviewer


When it comes to Christian-aimed movies finding release in the mainstream multiplex, I'll admit that my expectations are pitifully low, and sometimes even those are unmet. It's not that I object to the message on spiritual grounds, though sometimes it can be objectionable in how its applied like with the hateful yet popular God's Not Dead; my problem is that the message is the sole purpose of the movie, not the storytelling, and so everything seems to be slapdash and inconsequential. They're not interested in telling good stories with Christian main characters; it's about selling good Christian messages and the movies are simply a delivery system to reconfirm the faith or at times the special elevated stature (see: God's Not Dead) of the ticket-buyers. Every now and then one of these movies seems to slip through the cracks, so to speak, and surprise me with a genuine story and a deeper exploration of its characters and their dilemmas. I was hoping that Miracles from Heaven could be sometime like 2014's Heaven is For Real, a well-meaning and consciously inclusive movie. Miracles from Heaven was my own 105-minutes of hell as I endured the barest of attempt to service a feature-length story. Based on a true story, Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) is a loving and doting mom who checks in on each of her three daughters (Abbie, Anna, Adelynn) during their nightly prayers. Her world is turned upside down when young Anna (the heavy-lidded Kylie Rogers) has intense stomach pains and intense vomiting. She can't keep anything down for weeks and the doctors are unhelpful until she's finally properly diagnosed. Anna has a twisted intestine, which makes her unable to digest food, and this illness has no cure and often dooms its afflicted cases to short lives. Christy and her husband Kevin (Martin Henderson) have their hopes pinned on getting admitted to Dr. Nurko's (Eugenio Derbez) treatment, a specialist in Boston. Even after enrolling, the long weeks apart from family, and the mounting bills, leave little hope for Anna and the Beam family. It's the perfect conditions for a miracle of some sort to take form, wouldn't you say? If you're looking for a feel-good affirmation you might be barking up the wrong tree because Miracles from Heaven was, for me, an interminable experience of unyielding and tactless sadness pornography. Allow me to unpack my choice terminology. Any movie that features a young child stricken with a very deadly and incurable illness is going to fall upon the sadder side of human drama, but what sets this movie apart is that this emotional landing spot is the only territory it mines. Its scenes exist just to remind you how sad these characters are about their sad experiences with their sad daughter while she sadly suffers and will likely never sadly recover. The specialist in Boston only gets new patients when the old are cured or die, and they don't get cured. I'm by no means saying that storytelling dealing with overpowering sadness is not worth exploring. I enjoy a sad movie as much as somebody who enjoys sad movies can because I want art to move me, to make feel genuine emotions in response to the human condition. However, Miracles from Heaven failed to move me because every one of its scenes feels so carefully calculated to make its audience reach for tissues. Manipulation is also not an unforgivable sin when it comes to storytelling, but what makes this movie's crime egregious is that it doesn't provide any depth to justify those shed tears. You're crying not because you feel for the characters of Anna, Christy, or the entire Beam brood, it's because Christy is Suffering Mom dealing with Suffering Child. There is no characterization involved in this movie and instead it relies upon its simplistic setup to provide all the empathy. Why do they need to build characters when a few shots of a sick child or Garner with tears dribbling down her face will suffice? It's lousy screenwriting and it honestly made me upset as scene after scene reconfirmed this emotional stupor. Having some understanding that this movie wouldn't exist if Anna didn't miraculously heal by the end, we're left with an enormous amount of time to fill. They don't make miracles until the third act, folks, and this one is a tad peculiar but effective. The time between the diagnosis and the miracle would be a fine opportunity to flesh out the Beam family and learn more about them and how this illness is affecting each of them. The only thing we learn is that the oldest daughter misses her soccer tryouts. This is the only onscreen ramification of Anna's constant medical attention affecting somebody. Everyone is suffering with dignity and poise, and even the oldest daughter isn't that upset after the briefest of angry outbursts. These people are just not interesting screen characters. They are one hundred percent defined as Family to Sick Kid. That's it. After forty minutes with this clan, I was overcome with a powerful malaise. I just wanted the movie to end and was mentally counting down this miracle, which always felt so infinitely far away in my theater chair. There's no momentum in this movie. It's about getting Anna to that specialist, then it's about treating her, and then it's about making her comfortable when she goes home, presumably to die. The movie lacks basic reflection and introspection, highlighted by a laugh-out-loud moment when a group of inhospitable church members ask Christy what kind of sin she, or even Anna herself, must have committed to bring upon this illness. I wanted to yell at the screen at this moment. I genuinely felt sorry for Jennifer Garner in this movie; not her character but the actress herself. I've been a fan of Garner since her star-making turn in J.J. Abrams' TV series Alias (those first two seasons are some of TV's greatest). I enjoy her kicking bad guys in the face, I enjoy her making me feel a plethora of emotions, and I thought she could have reasonably been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for one very affecting glance she delivers with perfection in Juno. I am a J. Gar fan, but my God did I want to save her from this horrible movie and what it was forcing her to do. It felt like Garner was held hostage and crying out for sanctuary. I can practically count on one lone hand the number of scenes that did not involve Garner crying. Every scene calls for her to be at a constant state of weeping, from angry crying to confused crying and finally hopeful weeping. She has a few angry mother monologues putting skeptical doctors in their places, but this is a performance almost entirely predicated upon crying. The emotional stakes are kept as such a fever pitch for so long that Miracles from Heaven crosses over into unintentional parody, feeling like a melodramatic Christian telenovela. I was envisioning a team with cattle prods to constantly keep Garner in a state of distress. The rest of the actors barely register, and there are some good people here. What is Queen Latifah doing in this to play a Boston waitress who becomes an unofficial tour guide for Christy and Anna? She has maybe three scenes and all of them are introduced and handled so awkwardly that it feels like the movie declaring, "And now, Christy's Special Black Friend." Derbez (Instructions Not Included) looks like he was given the directing note of performing like a slightly less inebriated Patch Adams. There's John Carrol Lynch (TV's American Horror Story, Zodiac) as the kindly preacher, but his words of wisdom are often rote and lack great insight. That's because none of these people feel like they're characters. They're all placeholders in service of waiting for the film's miracle and thus its faith-affirming message to "hang in there, kitty." I fully accept that I'm not going to be the target audience for Miracles from Heaven, and that's perfectly fine. Filmmakers are allowed to make storied targeted at a niche audience, though I would hope they would include enough satisfactory and developed elements for a film to transcend its niche. What bothers me is that Miracles from Heaven takes its audience for granted repeatedly. They don't bother with characterization and the examination of insurmountable grief and parental terror because instead they'll just boil everything to its core element of Grieving Parent cries over Sick Child. It's the same scene, over and over, bludgeoning the audience with sadness and suffering until it taps out, cries mercy, and is overjoyed for the titular miracle to chase away this dirge. Miracles from Heaven feels more like an anecdote than a film. It's stretched far too thin. It doesn't respect its audience enough to even bother forming characters or present a story that explores the realities of an incurable illness and the stress this unleashes on all parties. Movies have provided great empathetic exercises where we watch human beings suffer and then triumph, moved by their plight and uplifted by their spirit, perseverance, or perhaps even the frail realatability they exhibit as they tackle their oppressions. The Oscar-winning film Room is an excellent example of this and a movie I highly encourage all readers to seek out and give a chance, subject matter notwithstanding. Room is a movie that celebrates the human experience but acknowledges the pain of it too. Miracles from Heaven, in sharp contrast, is a movie that barely acknowledges the need for basic storytelling and is nothing more than insulting high-gloss sadness pornography. You deserve better, America, and so does Jennifer Garner. Nate's Grade: C-

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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