Waiting for the Miracle to Come

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Waiting for the Miracle to Come Movie Poster Image
Offbeat but mundane drama has mature themes.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 75 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Don't be saddened by death -- we think it’s the end of life but it's just the beginning. You never know how people feel about things until you ask. 


Positive Role Models & Representations

Addie is a dutiful daughter.


A man is said to die in a fire. A girl's dad has died. A middle-aged woman has not gotten over being given up for adoption as a baby.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Waiting for the Miracle to Come is an odd story set in a fuzzy 1960s-ish past featuring a girl who learns at her father's death that her mother was adopted. Mom has stewed in anger and depression for years and has refused to look for her biological parents. The parents have in the meantime stayed on their ranch waiting for her to come look for them. There's a fire and some deaths. Nothing here would be inappropriate for kids, but it's doubtful anything here would interest them, either. Original music is by Bono and Willie Nelson stars.

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What's the story?

WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME begins when young Adeline's (Sophie Lowe) dad has died. Her mother (Sile Bermingham) seems terminally depressed and the dad (Todd Terry) has left a letter behind trying to explain it all. He mysteriously urges Addie to visit two old people named Jimmy (Willie Nelson) and Dixie (Charlotte Rampling) who live nearby on a sprawling property that they call The Beautiful Place Museum, where there might be a "gold mine." The gold idea is quickly abandoned as it becomes clear that Addie is the granddaughter of these odd people and that her mother was given up for adoption by them when she was a baby and has never recovered from the abandonment. We learn that Dixie and Jimmy were living in their car at the time of the birth and, with broken hearts, gave up the child, always hoping she would return to them. This is why when their property is being foreclosed on, they are afraid to leave, fearing their daughter will never find them. In the meantime, we learn Dixie and Jimmy were "show folk," although what kind is hard to tell, and Adeline is an aspiring trapeze/tightrope artist. Throughout, the dead father speaks to and appears to Adeline, encouraging her to bring her mother to her aging parents. 

Is it any good?

This is a ponderous short feature (75 minutes) that won't appeal to all audiences. Waiting for the Miracle to Come reveals a fairly mundane story -- a woman given up for adoption suffers lifelong pain of abandonment until her daughter finds the equally grief-stricken grandparents and brings them together. Dribs and drabs of plot are doled out in an unnecessarily slow, confusing, and disorderly manner, as if that approach might lend it all the more meaning. It doesn't.

The part of Jimmy is said to have been written for Willie Nelson, so it's odd that he hardly gets to do anything here. But nothing -- neither character nor story -- is developed. Problems are raised and then in one quick line of dialogue solved. It's doubtful that any of this will be of interest to kids or teens used to linear narratives, never mind the quick editing and manic pace of YouTube, (the now defunct) Vine, and music videos. The setting and references won't help either. The era remains unclear throughout. There's a 1964 Ford Galaxie, clothing from the 1950s, and then a tape cassette (not widely available until 1968) shows up. To add to the confusion, the nostalgic sentiments about the greatness of Marilyn Monroe that took some years to develop after her death in 1962 are discussed as if she'd died decades earlier. It doesn't help that a ghost talks and appears to his daughter. The one strength here is the extraordinary and enduring poise and intensity of Charlotte Rampling. In general, it's impossible not to wonder about the filmmaker's intentions. As the story winds to its unsatisfying conclusion, one is still left wondering.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how difficult it would be to learn that one is adopted. Why do you think Addie's mom doesn't want to meet her birth parents in Waiting for the Miracle to Come?

  • How do you think Addie's mom feels when she reads the loving letters her father wrote to her every day after he gave her up?

  • Why do you think Addie didn't tell Jimmy and Dixie that they were her grandparents?

Movie details

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