Plot all summed up in the title

Jennifer Garner plays Christy, a mother whose faith is put to the test as she cares for her daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers, both above), who suffers from a debilitating disease.
Jennifer Garner plays Christy, a mother whose faith is put to the test as she cares for her daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers, both above), who suffers from a debilitating disease.PHOTO: SONY PICTURES

REVIEW / DRAMA

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (PG)

109 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2.5/5 stars

The story: Ten-year-old Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) falls sick and is unable to keep any food down. She is eventually diagnosed with pseudo-obstruction motility disorder. Her mother, Christy (Jennifer Garner), is determined to get her the best medical care possible, but finds her faith being put to the test. One day, Anna falls into the hollow of a tree and sustains only minor scratches. Miraculously, she is cured of her serious illness as well. Based on the 2015 memoir of the same name by Christy Beam.

One can imagine why Garner, a mother of three, would be drawn to this project.

A gravely ill kid is every parent's worst nightmare and she taps that primal ferociousness of wanting to protect her child as well as the fear and anguish of a mother who feels helpless in the face of a ruthlessly debilitating disease.

But the largely pedestrian treatment of the material by Mexican director Patricia Riggen (The 33, 2015) turns out an illness-of-the- week cable television movie.

Singer-actress Queen Latifah is shoved into a thankless supporting role as the stranger who befriends Christy and Anna when they travel to Boston from Texas for medical consultations. There is little for her to do but be sassy and kind.

It would have been more interesting if the movie provided an examination on the nature and limits of faith but, clearly, this is not what it is set up for. And so the moviegoer gets a deus ex machina ending as Anna romps through a brightly coloured heaven on an idyllic day trip and has a conversation with God.

There is no dramatic tension to this film - the entire premise is already summarised in the title.

If you are amenable to the idea of miracles, this movie might well move you. But for me, I already take a leap of faith each time I watch a movie. Taking two leaps in one sitting is just too much of a stretch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Plot all summed up in the title'. Print Edition | Subscribe