Miracles from Heaven is a largely dull movie that winds up having questionable takeaways, dropped subplots, sloppy editing, mediocre-to-bad acting, and a skeptical "true" story that one can tell in just a couple of minutes.
However - and you knew a "however" was coming - it has more than a few problems of its own, and some takeaways that just don't sit quite right. First off, it's not an overwhelmingly preachy film for most of its running time, but when it does get preachy, it claims that (1) everything is a miracle, and (2) believing in God is an inevitability. It kills the sick child of a non-believer, while saving the one from a believer, and then the father of the kid who died instantly believes the family's story and is now, himself, a believer - and his change of faith means that there's no way that anyone should question this story. Seriously, that's how they shut down anyone's skepticism in the film.
But fine. It's from Affirm Films, and we know what agenda it's going to have going in. It has other issues, like how a couple of subplots go unresolved. A friendship between Anna and a boy at school never gets much time to develop, while the dire financial straits that the family put themselves in, which is a driving force of conflict for the two adults throughout the film just kind of disappears as soon as Anna's better. There are also some tonal and temporal shifts that happen so suddenly that we can only wonder if relatively large portions of the film were cut at the last minute and the filmmakers decided we'd just figure out that days passed from one scene to the next, or come up with reasons why a character's happy in one scene and belligerent in the next.
The acting also ranges from mediocre to bad. Kylie Rogers is conservatively a trillion times better than Connor Corum was in Heaven is for Real, but she still doesn't do anything that could be considered good acting. Jennifer Garner is passable-at-best as the mother, while Martin Henderson is likable but little more as the father. Supporting performances from Queen Latifah, Eugenio Derbez, John Carroll Lynch wind up much like Henderson's: likable, but emotionally flat.
Here's what you should do: Watch the trailer for Miracles from Heaven - it tells you the entire story - and then decide if you want to see more of that, but with a significantly longer portion dedicated to a sick child, as well as a bunch of preachy scenes. Most people probably won't, but if you're among them, have at it. Nothing I say would change your mind anyway. For the rest of you, you're avoiding a largely dull movie that winds up having questionable takeaways, dropped subplots, sloppy editing, mediocre-to-bad acting, and a skeptical "true" story that one can tell in just a couple of minutes.
Bottom Line: Miracles from Heaven is dull, contains questionable takeaways, and isn't particularly well-made. Its trailer tells its story better.
Recommendation: Just watch the trailer. Or, even better: don't even think about this movie again.
If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.