MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
The Girl Who Believes in Miracles - On DVD, Streaming on Kanopy, VUDU, Plex and YouTube (free with ads); Video on Demand ($2.99)
Directed by Rich Correll
Starring Mira Sorvino, Austyn Johnson
I am pretty sure that Jesus wasn’t intending to preach a children’s sermon when he said: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Nevertheless, when young Sara (Johnson) hears her pastor preach about mustard seed faith, she takes it to heart, believing that God may have some big plans for a sincere believer. During a trip to a nearby lake Sara summons up the power of the Holy Spirit (evoked by the blowing of the wind across the water) to bring a dead bird back to life.
Everyone is awestruck at this healing miracle, but Sara simply accepts it as a new possibility in her relationship to God and others. Other instances of healing follow. One occasion even changes the heart of the schoolyard bully. But as Sara gives herself for others, her health diminishes; this takes a lot out of a person. How long will she be able to continue?
I am usually appreciative of family-friendly faith-based films, if they provide a way for parents to talk with their children about God’s love. The Girl Who Believes in Miracles, however, creates more problems than opportunities for dialogue. Like so many movies aiming for a larger audience than church folks, there is very little talk about Jesus (although the film will let him make a guest appearance toward the end.) All of the grownups seem a bit out of touch with things, setting up a wacky caper later in which they are fooled by the kids in town, Ferris Bueller style.
And just where is this town and in what century? The “media” seem to be just from local TV stations. Sara’s doctor (played by Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo, who seems to be in just about every other Christian film these days) not only makes house calls, but is the area’s expert on cancer treatment. (No need to go to a bigger hospital’s oncology unit.) All you need to create a hospital room in this movie are two bags of IV fluids and something that beeps attached to them.
This first-rate cast includes Mira Sorvino as Sara’s emotive mother and Peter Coyote as her feisty grandpa (not afraid to trip up some meddling kids if they try to steal food from a concession counter).
Two final observations:
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Three halos: Good performances and faith-based positivity cannot overcome a muddled message.
One pitchfork: Scenes of bullying, some implied alcohol and smoking among teens.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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