Movie review: The Miracle Club


One Saturday afternoon in late July, when my wife was working, I saw The Miracle Club at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Frankly, I went because of the star power.

The IMDb description: “There’s just one dream for the women of Ballygar to taste freedom: to win a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes” in 1967.

Eileen (Kathy Bates), Lily (Maggie Smith),  and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) are participating together in a competition to vie for the vaunted trip. Chrissie (Laura Linney) arrives in town, missing her mother’s funeral.

Eileen and Lily’s animus towards Chrissie goes WAY back, though the much younger Dolly gets along fine with her. Ultimately, with some manipulation of the local priest Dermot Byrne (Mark O’Halloran), all four end up on the sojourn.

Will a miracle happen?  Well, maybe. It depends on how one defines that.

I liked how the writers and director allowed the onion to be peeled away, revealing the troubles that propagated the four-decades-long anger and pain.


It seemed to work at being heartwarming, and much of the time, it succeeded.  Yet, even some positive reviewers rightly suggested it was slight and/or saccharine. I wanted more of the backstory of these women. I felt the movie told rather than showed.

Also, here’s a bit that worked less well for me. Most of the fellows left behind by their wives were hapless and helpless, which may have been true of men left to do domestic chores in the period. It was played for laughs. Meh.

Still, The Miracle Club I found was comfort food. It was worth my while for the actors and also for the resolution. It does fall in that rare film category for me that, despite the lovely scenery, it’d probably be fine to see on the small screen.

So it is ironic that the movie will be re-released in theaters on Friday, August 18. It’s because of the writers’ and actors’ strikes slowing down the film pipeline, plus Barbenheimer sucking a lot of oxygen from other releases.

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