The Miracle Club
Review by Shauna McCrudden
A cute Irish-based film with big stars attached? Sign me up…even if it’s a little boring!
The Miracle Club stars Kathy Bates, Maggie Smith and Laura Linney and centres around several women living in 1960s Dublin who each have a reason to escape their small suburb and find a miracle in the sacred French town of Lourdes. But once they get there, emotions run deep, and the three women have to escape their pasts.
The movie quickly starts off showing us a Hollywood version of 60s Ireland. The men rule and the women look after the children in a small town of stray gossip and religious-soaked judgements. An Ireland that Chrissie (Linney) left many years ago after she was banished to the US by Eileen (Bates) and Lil (Smith).
All this plot and character set-up made me think the rest of the movie was going to be truly moving and even funny. But despite being classed as a comedy, this certainly feels like something other than a comedy. It’s more of a light-hearted drama. There are attempts at jokes, but more as palate-cleansers after heavy scenes rather than anything that would entice a chuckle – ‘oh my, the leads’ husbands are left at home and have to take care of the children. Their cooking skills are terrible, what will they do?’ It’s a laugh riot…
But that’s not to say this film is entirely without depth. The main actresses, ignoring some accent hiccups, are all excellent and have nice chemistry with each other. Lil and Chrissie’s story was very touching, despite needing more focus. And Eileen’s personal story is an all-too-familiar fear for many women. But I’m not sure what the overall theme is here – friendship; the idea that miracles can happen if you make them happen; or is it redemption? It’s all a bit muddled and wrapped up in sentiment hoping you don’t notice.
But despite some odd choices (who exactly made the decision to give Kathy Bates and Stephen Rea, both actors in their mid-70s, children who look under 10?!), this is still quite a heart-warming story. If you want a relaxing Sunday evening movie that doesn’t stress you out, then you can’t really go wrong with this one.