Review: Faith-based ‘Heaven’ preaches community values

Adam Graham Detroit News Film Critic

The faith-based tearjerker “Miracles from Heaven” tells the real-life story of Anna Beam, a 12-year-old Texas girl who contracts a rare intestinal disease and is miraculously cured after a near-death experience.

The film centers on the struggle of faith undergone by Anna’s mother Christy (Jennifer Garner) and finds hope in the everyday actions of friends, family and members of the community. It’s a good Christian film that plays to its audience and preaches the importance of neighborly values.

When Anna (Kylie Rogers), an active little girl who loves climbing trees, begins complaining of abnormal stomach pains, her parents take her to a series of doctors who misdiagnose her ailment as lactose intolerance and acid reflux. (“The Ring’s” Martin Henderson, looking for the world like Billy Ray Cyrus, plays Anna’s father, Kevin.) Finally they learn she has a disease called psuedo-obstruction motility disorder, which leaves her bloated and unable to pass food.

It is recommended that Anna see a leading pediatrician based out of Boston, which puts a strain on the family’s already tight resources. There, Christy and Anna befriend Angela (Queen Latifah), a waitress who takes them around the city and becomes their Boston tour guide.

Between the church-set scenes, Christian rock montages and discussions of prayer, faith is never far from the focus. “Miracles from Heaven” stays fairly grounded, save for a late-in-the-game set piece that recalls the more fanciful parts of “What Dreams May Come.”

That sequence sets the film in another realm, but what’s important is “Miracles from Heaven” believes its own story and aptly passes it on to viewers.

Its faith in itself never wavers.

agraham@detroitnews.com

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‘Miracles from Heaven’

GRADE: B

Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images

Running time: 109 minutes