The Miracle Club

JULY 21ST, 2023




It has been spoken about in some of my other reviews before but for those that might not know, I lost my faith at the end of my four years in college. I’m not religious at all anymore and my disagreement and dislike of all religions has only grown stronger since. I don’t think that means I can’t understand those who do believe in a religion and as I always say, to each their own. The Miracle Club might sound like a movie only for the believer, where a collection of people from a small town in Ireland go to Lourdes in France, with hopes of bringing miracles to their troubled lives, but it’s truly the opposite of that. Some are hardcore believers. Some have lost all their faith. What is found on this trip is that being together, with a community, and caring for the ones you love can heal all problems. The Miracle Club finds strength in faith and a delightful community that bonds together.

It began in 1967, in the small town of Ballygar, a simple place in Ireland. Most activities involve stories told at the pub and the women making food for an after-church event. Eileen Dunne (Kathy Bates flashing a consistent Irish accent) is a housewife, often taking care of her inept husband (Stephen Rea), and recently in shock when she discovers a lump in her breast. Lily (Maggie Smith) has never recovered from her son drowning at sea, leaving her life empty, and sad. Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) is the younger mother of the group and her fear is that her 7-year-old son has still not uttered a word and fears he never will. And Chrissie (Laura Linney) has returned to her home from America, carrying with her the trauma of a tragedy that forced her to leave in the first place.

Each member of the collective group has a reason to believe or not believe, but Eileen truly believes that a trip to Lourdes and a blessing of water from the Virgin Mary will heal her. The ladies decide to compete in a talent show for two tickets to Lourdes and when the winner hears how desperately they want to go, well the miracle finds its way to help all the ladies go on the trip. When they arrive, their faith will be tested and it becomes more of a dramatic moment, where all the women must confront the true reasons they were there in the first place. They will also bond, heal old wounds, and discover themselves.

One factor that had me appreciating The Miracle Club was how honest and endearing it becomes. It’s obviously a movie more fit for parents or grandparents- I know my own mother would love this one and it’s because of those maternal notes that the dialogue feels romantic. The screenplay by Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager, and Jimmy Smallhorne highlights the natural human characteristics of others. The way a person creates a narrative in their head denies the truth to make themselves feel better or has opened themselves up after tragedy. Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan understands that the dynamics between his characters in a scene are more important than any preconceived notions one might have about religion.

That’s not to say that The Miracle Club is perfect. There is a certain generic feeling to what looks like green screen settings and the old-school notion of men being terrible at taking care of their own children is old-fashioned. But the success comes from this group of women coming together. Eileen’s faith is challenged when she learns that the miracles occurred a long time ago, Lily must come to terms with her loss, Dolly must learn to not pressure her child, and Chrissie must forgive herself to let go of her past. All four of the performances are as strong as expected and the closing message is one that we can take with us. I think the hope is that religion and faith can bring more people together. Not to force you to believe but to find the love that it creates. It’s not easy but if you learn something well then that would be a little miracle.



Written by: Leo Brady

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