By Xinthy Nunez
I thought Miracles from Heaven would be hard to analyze or it would have been boring to talk about in a paper but I really enjoyed it and even cried at the end. It was a drama film, filled with emotions and an important message at the end. But before I get into analyzing the film, I would like to give a brief summary explaining this film. Miracles from Heaven is about a young girl named Anna, who was diagnosed with a two rare stomach disorder called pseudo-obstruction motility disorder and antral hypomotility disorder. After months and months of treatment, Anna then while playing on a tree, went through a fatal near death experience by falling into a 30 feet hollowed-out cottonwood tree. Instead of killing her, this fall cured her.
Now I would first like to discuss the characters of this film. This film was based on the Beam Family. It was interesting to watch this film because since it was based on a true story, I felt a part of this family. I got upset when Anna was diagnosed, I cried tears of joy when she was completely cured, and I cried when the roommate she had while in the hospital passed away. Kylie Roger, who played Anna, did such an amazing job that I felt the pain she was in. Her performance was astonishing, I usually don’t cry when I know the ending of a movie, but when I watched her in pain, I saw my niece.
Christy Beam, Anna’s mom, who was played by Jennifer Garner, who all in herself is an amazing actress. But I’ve never seen her so vulnerable, so weak yet so strong. You can see in her eyes the pain of a mother watching her child die slowly in front of her and there isn’t much she can do. I saw the pain Anna was in from a mother’s perspective while watching Jennifer Garner. She seems desperate for answers, desperate for hope. And once Anna was cured, you could see the relieve and happiness in Jennifer’s eyes. I watched this entire film with the mother’s point of view thanks to her acting. I personally felt like Anna was my daughter and felt a need to comfort her so she wouldn’t feel the pain.
Even though this movie is based on the Beam family, I believe that Angela, who was played by Queen Latifah, was an important character in this film. Angela was a waitress Christy and Anna met while in Boston waiting to get an appointment for some children hospital. Besides the fact that Queen Latifah is a very good actress, she brought joy into Anna’s life when she most needed it. Angela took a day off to take Anna and Christy sightseeing and giving her a day of fun. Whenever Anna was in Boston, Angela took her out to brighten up her day a bit. Which at the end resulted into Anna asking Angela if she can call her Aunt Angela. Just because Angela, the character, wasn’t shown much, it was essential in the film because Angela was a miracle in Anna’s life. The moral of the film is that miracles do exist, we don’t see it, but it’s the sacrifices people do for other people without thinking twice about it.
The Colors of the film express the mood that the audience should feel, like in all movies. At the start of the film, it was sunny out, the animals and children were playing, everything was bright and exciting. But once Anna started getting sick, it was gloomy, everything was gray and it was raining or cloudy. The mood of the film completely changed once the color changed. I felt scared and sad for this little girl. Made me feel exactly how the family was feeling. The day she fell into the tree, it was a different type of vibe. The sun was out but it still felt kind of gloomy. What really stood out in that scene was a bright white butterfly that caught Anna’s attention and it was going up on the tree like guiding Anna to climb it. All the focus was on that white butterfly.
Another scene that stood out for color was once Anna was feeling better and she was playing with her sisters, the sun was shining again. With her near death experience, Anna’s spirit was stuck inside of the hollow tree, it was very dark, and she was able to look at herself lying down on the ground and then the bright white butterfly appears in that room full of darkness. Following the butterfly, it leads her into the enchanted looking forest, where everything sparkled and it glowed. Anna looked at peace, I somehow felt at peace. I don’t know how to explain the colors in this scene, but everything was glowing and it made me smile watching her there. And when the flashback was over, there was this sign of happiness around them. Everything was bright like how the movie started. The color in a film is essential for the mood of the story, because of the color of this film, my mood was up and down just like theirs. Made me really feel a part of the Beam family.
The Visual Design: The setting of this film was in two main places, the main one was in the Beam’s house in Texas. The second was in Boston mainly in the children hospital. Their house in Texas was also a farm, which I found really interesting. You could see the character’s personality from the first scene of the movie, which was a Sunday morning before church, the three girls are playing, the father is out on the farm and the mom telling everyone not to get their church clothes dirty. The outside became a big character in this film because the girls would always be outside playing and fooling around. Once Anna got sick, the outside became a place where Christy and Kevin (Anna’s dad) fought over money and got to worry about Anna without her seeing them worry.
Boston was the second main setting, is where Anna spent most of her time during the movie since that is where the hospital was located. The hospital was an emotional atmosphere because everyone wanted her to do better, but Anna has accepted her death and was hoping it would be all over soon. Even though it was a hospital filled with sick children, it was a happy place. The hallways and rooms were filled with pictures and bright colors. It was made comfortable for the sick children. It felt realistic, the settings made it feel like real events were occurring. Which is why I think this film was very well made, the director could have made the visual design over the top and made the certain scenes look fake like many directors do, and ruins the movie, but he did it perfectly done, it was simple and straight to the point.
The last segment I would like to discuss is the music and sound of the film. Miracles from Heaven has its own soundtrack, and since the Beam family is a religious family, most of the songs used for this film were hymns played by a man named Carlo Siliotto, the rest of the album is filled with all the sounds and background music that occurred during the film. I find this interesting because not many movies make an entire album and put the background music in it unless they were songs. As I listen to the album, I didn’t even realize most of these sounds were even playing while I was watching the film. We get so involved in the film that we as the audience don’t really pay attention to the instrumental playing in the background. But as I listen to the album I can clearly picture in my head in which part of the movie they played this song. It makes me go back to the feeling I had while watching that scene. I didn’t really notice how important the sound and music is in a film unless you separate the two. The music in the background, with the color, sets the mood of the scene for the audience.
Throughout this film, there were many ups and down, the music tells the audience exactly how to feel. The moment Anna got really sick and they had to rush her to the hospital. It was dark, the scene was in slow motion and this dark, fast, scary music started playing, you knew something serious was about to happen. My favorite thing that they made with the sound that it wasn’t modern music, it wasn’t a song I’ve heard before, this is a religious family and they kept the music with the same religious vibe. The director did not try to modernize this film, he kept it simple and it went with the flow, which is why I cried at the end, twice.
In conclusion, I am glad I picked this film as my midterm. It’s usually not a movie I would have watched, at the beginning I thought it was going to be extremely corny, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching this film and analyzing the director’s work, and I can say Patricia Riggen did a fantastic job portraying Anna Beam’s story. I just loved how the she ended the film, not many people knew Anna’s story, I certainly didn’t. I did not expect that right before the credits, the real Anna Beam would have introduced her family and herself, she showed the audience the tree that saved her life, she welcomed the audience into her real home. Which I am glad because this is one of those movies where the audience gets so involved, that we wonder what happened to them after the movie ended and then remembering they are just characters. Finding out at the end of the film that it was based on a true story made me feel happy because the feelings I had for this girl Anna and her family, it was real feelings. I was able to search her story, and see how she is doing now.
Because of this film I learned about this rare chronic digestive disorder that I’ve never heard off, now I can research and learn more about it. And what really fascinated me was that the moral of this film was that miracles happen all around us, not magical powers, but the kindness of the people who surround us.