Jennifer Garner takes on a powerhouse dramatic role in Miracles from Heaven. Based on a true story, the film paints an inspirational portrait of a woman, Christy Beam, up against the most painful of all troubles: an incurably sick child. But it’s not the mother’s forbearance and fight that cure her daughter — a la Susan Sarandon in Lorenzo’s Oil — it’s an actual miracle, or so goes the story. It’s not giving anything away to say that when the sick child, Anna, falls 30 feet inside a hollow tree and is trapped for hours, she emerges not only unharmed from the fall but cured of the intestinal disease that afflicted her.
The film gives a lot of credit to the community surrounding the family, both church-based and outside the church, for keeping the Beams’ hopes alive. It’s as much a human drama as a heavenly one. The book was a bestseller on Amazon. And Jennifer Garner was among those who relished the story in its original form — she didn’t just read the screenplay when her agent put it in front of her. Talking to Vanity Fair, Garner described the book itself: “[Miracles from Heaven] kept me up all night. It was so compelling and tangible. [Christy’s] pain, the daughter’s pain, what it did to the family… One of the great gifts of the movie was the perspective that came with it.”