A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miracles from Heaven is a drama based on the real-life experiences of a Texas family whose daughter suddenly develops a debilitating, mostly untreatable illness. Her mother (Jennifer Garner), who faces a crisis of faith over the situation, fights fiercely for her daughter's survival; the movie focuses on the ways that such a situation can strain even the strongest family. Ultimately the message is that maintaining your faith that things will work out is both difficult and necessary. There's no drinking or sex and very little language ("oh my God" and "sucks" are about it), but characters argue and get very emotional, and some of the scenes featuring very sick children could be unsettling for younger viewers. One child is also involved in a serious accident late in the film.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Based on the memoir by Christy Beam, MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN follows the Beam family's experiences as middle daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers), a spunky 10-year-old, comes down with an untreatable, likely digestive disorder. Anna's mom, Christy (Jennifer Garner), is completely demoralized watching her little girl waste away, especially when even the best doctor in the country (Eugenio Derbez) can do little to slow the effects of her condition. But just when all seems lost, a terrible accident could actually be just the miracle the Beams have been waiting for. and Martin Henderson
Is it any good?
Watching a child inch closer to death is definitely a somber experience, but viewers shouldn't get too upset; no matter how bad things seem, the film's title is a major clue to how things will end. You can spot Miracles from Heaven's destination from the onramp. And while the extremely earnest drama is pretty predictable (and underwhelming), it does boast a strong cast -- especially Garner as a mom who nearly breaks under her huge burden and Derbez as the sympathetic, Patch Adams-esque doctor. The film is well-made and certainly inspirational, but in the end it's just not all that entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the characters in Miracles from Heaven exhibit perseverance. Why is this an important character strength?
The film is based on the Beam family's real-life experiences; do you think this is what happened in real life? Does it matter whether viewers believe?
Do you think filmmakers generally stick close to the facts in movies based on true stories? Why might they decide to change things?
Who you think Miracles from Heaven is most intended to appeal to? Do you think it's for people who already profess a faith, or will it appeal to others equally?
- In theaters: March 16, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: July 12, 2016
- Cast: John Carroll Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson, Queen Latifah
- Director: Patricia Riggen
- Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic material, including accident and medical images
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.