Miracle at Midnight

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
Miracle at Midnight Movie Poster Image
Average telling of amazing WWII true story; peril, violence.
  • NR
  • 1998
  • 90 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

True story of courage and compassion under Nazi occupation. Characters risk their lives to help others and show the best human traits, in defiance of the worst.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Koster family leads a national effort to help Jewish people escape deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Some characters discuss the potential dangers of defying the Nazis and are unsure if they should help. The Nazis are shown to be ruthless, although one leaks information about the arrests in order to help the escapees. A schoolgirl shares Nazi propaganda about Jews. Students leading the resistance are depicted as brave and idealistic.

Violence

Violence includes gunfire between Nazis and resistance members. Characters are shot, with some blood. Characters are killed and one chooses to take their own life rather than be arrested by the Nazis. Petrol bombs thrown and a Jewish community center is vandalized with sledgehammers. Regular threat of violence and peril.

Sex

Two young couples kiss.

Language

A character uses hate speech against Jewish people when sharing Nazi propaganda.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters toast with wine at wedding party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Miracle at Midnight is a Disney TV movie based on an awe-inspiring true story from World War II with perilous and violent scenes that may upset younger viewers. The fictionalized Koster family -- including Dr. Karl Koster (Sam Waterston) and Doris Koster (Mia Farrow) -- coordinate Denmark's citizen-led operation to save the country's Jewish residents from being deported to concentration camps during the Nazi occupation. Nazi characters are ruthless, violent, and based on historical characters. However, one Nazi shows courage and empathy when he leaks the date of the planned arrests to Dr. Koster. A schoolgirl who believes Nazi propaganda shares an anti-Jewish opinion. Violence and the threat of violence runs throughout. Characters are shot and some die from bloody wounds. One man takes his own life ahead of the planned arrests. Yet despite this constant threat and in the face of oppression, characters show the best possible human traits, including compassion and bravery. Some characters have concerns that lead to moral discussions and hard sacrifices are made. Characters are briefly shown with wine glasses at a wedding party. Two young couples kiss.

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What's the story?

MIRACLE AT MIDNIGHT tells the incredible real-life story of a nation pulling together to save its Jewish population from deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Dr. Karl Koster (Sam Waterston), Doris Koster (Mia Farrow), and their two children coordinate the daring operation.

Is it any good?

The true account of how more than 7,000 Danish Jews were saved from deportation by an incredible citizen effort is a story well worth telling. With Miracle at Midnight, Disney has made a noble effort, producing a well-meaning movie that achieves what it sets out to do. However, by focusing on just one altruistic family -- the fictionalized Koster family -- and constrained by a TV movie budget, the end result feels somewhat minor in the face of the enormity of the real-life story. 

A stellar cast, including Waterson and Farrow as the heads of the Koster family, bring all the necessary drama, threat, worry, and bravery to carry the movie. That said, the attempts at a Danish accent are patchy across the board, with much of the supporting cast sounding suspiciously Irish -- the movie was indeed filmed in Ireland. Miracle at Midnight paints with broad strokes but its palette is rich, with action, adventure, peril, moral dilemmas, and ethical discussions. Ultimately it's a great starting point to inspire further reading about an incredible feat of human kindness.

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