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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Patricia Riggen and TriStar Pictures comes a story based on the book by Christy Beam that brings us MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN.

Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) is a young girl who lives with her parents Christy (Jennifer Garner) and Kevin (Martin Henderson). Along with sisters Abbie (Brighton Sharbino) and Adelynn (Courtney Fansler) the family is happy and busy as dad Kevin begins his veterinary practice.

Attending church on Sundays listening to Pastor Scott (John Carroll Lynch), the Beams also invite everyone to their home for an outside BBQ to celebrate their blessings. Later in the evening Anna becomes very sick and is rushed to the hospital. When the doctors find nothing wrong, they all return home. But that isn’t the end of Anna being sick.

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More hospital runs happen as Christy begins to lose patience. Finally the doctors discover Anna is suffering from a rare and incurable stomach disease. As the little girls suffering increases, Christy begins the fight for her daughter to see specialist Dr. Nurko (Eugenio Derbez) in Philadelphia.

Kevin is keeping their two daughters, home and job together while Christy and Anna fly to Philadelphia for treatment. There they meet Angela (Queen Latifah) who embraces them both and becomes their friend and supporter while Anna receives treatments.

When the trips brings more sadness, Anna returns home and while out with her sisters has a freak accident that totally mystifies family, doctors and a community!

Garner as Christy is exactly what I would expect of a mother wanting only the best for her children. When Anna becomes sick it is clear that her mission is to find the doctor that is right for her and then – don’t take no for an answer! Garner is sweet, endearing and brought tears to the audience during the screening. Garner brings her smile and no nonsense performance and anyone watching is easily drawn in.

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Rogers as Anna is equally as endearing. It could not have been easy for this young actress to play the role that is wrapped in such pain and suffering. She wants to be strong for her family but there is one particular scene where she begins to question whether being strong is enough for her.

Henderson as Kevin is a father who knows he must be strong and keep things together. At times it becomes clear that the illness overtakes the family as each are impacted by something that has taken on an un-welcomed life of its own.

Sharbino as Abbie is the supportive sister even thought there are moments when she feels small and ignored. That’s hard for any teenager yet Sharbino remembers that what her sister is going through is difficult for them all. Fansler as little sister Adelynn is just adorable – period!

Derbez as Dr. Nurko is enchanting and all I could think is that all the children he helped are so blessed. If Dr. Nurko is a fraction of Derbez’s portrayal then it is clear that this man truly cares. Latifah as Angela has a small role but it is important to Christy and Anna. Latifah has played this type of role in other films and she is good at it so of course she is perfect here.

Lynch as Pastor Scott reminded me a little of Dr. Phil in the sense of his charisma and humor in the congregation scenes. There were a few ladies in front of me who said they’d love to have him preach in their church!

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Other cast include: Bruce Altman as Dr. Burgi, Wayne Pere as Ben, Brandon Spink as Billy Snyder, Kelly Lintz as Emmy, Kenny Alfonso as Dr. Dorsi, and Kevin Sizemore as Chief Garvey.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is definetly a family film that has all viewers questioning why this would happen to such a sweet little girl, how does a family remain strong and what do you do when your faith is shaken.

The ensemble cast bring this story as up close and personal as it could possibly get. The audience was engaged and emotional not only for the plight of the little girl but silently praying for a family in pain. That is why faith based films are becoming popular once again for families who want to go in groups to share an experience like MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN.

Christy Beam released Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing in April of 2015.

In the end – how do we explain the impossible?