I was surprised to find this 2016 film (based on a true story by Christy Beam) on the library shelf since I though this story would not have passed the censorship board. The reason I picked it up was Jennifer Garner and a curiosity about the miracles.
A miricle is something that cannot be explained by logical deduction or scientific laws, so it was not unexpected that the movie opened with a church scene with the pastor delivering a sermon during service.
The audience is then introduced to the Beam family – comprising mum Christy (Jennifer Garner), dad Kevin ( Martin Henderson) and their three daughters Abigail ( Brighton Sharbino), Anabel (Kylie Rogers) and Adelynn (Courtney Fansler).
When Christy saw that 10-year-old Anabel was getting more and more sick and was constantly in pain, despite doctors diagnosing her condition as flu or indigestion or lactose intolerance, she insisted on further tests. After going through a MRI scan, a motility test an endoscopy and an extensive battery of tests, it was discovered that Anabel suffered from pseudo obstruction motility disorder for which there is no cure.
Whatever treatment the hospital could provide was focused on the improved quality of life for Anabel but the pain, one of the most compicated things to treat, was so bad that Anabel told her mother that she “wanted to die. It never stops hurting”. This hospital bed scene in which Christy cried and said “it would leave a hole in mummy’s heart” and Anabel said “I’m sorry. I don’t want to make you sad; I just want it to be over” was so emotional that it left me in tears.
By the time Anabel was discharged, the doctor reminded her parents that it is not uncommon for a child to fall into depression, and depression can cause pain. Family is the best medicine that can help.
The family tried to give Anabel as much support as possible, and they led a relatively ‘normal’ life for three years until one day Anabel fell 30 feet into a huge, mature cottonwood tree in the family compound while playing with her sisters. She was in a camatose state, unresponsive for 3 hours, with scratches on her arms and face and neck. It was thought she had suffered brain and spinal injuries….
Albert Einstein once said: There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a mistake and the other is as though everything is a miracle. This film shows how miracles are everywhere – they are goodness and love, kindness and grace, like the people around us, even strangers. We should live every day as if it is a miracle.
I was quite pleased that the song played as the end credits roll is George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun, and not another evangelical number, like two dozen others in the movie. Jennifer Garner did not disappoint as the determined woman, a fierce mother and advocate for her children; Kylie Rogers is awesome: she is dynamic and an incredible actress.