The Miracle Club Image

The Miracle Club

By Sumner Forbes | July 14, 2023

Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s The Miracle Club wouldn’t normally move the needle for me. I have all the love in the world for Dame Maggie Smith, but these days it’s hard not to associate her with fare like Downton Abbey, a property for which I am not the target demographic. Color me surprised to find that screenwriters Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager, and Jimmy Smallhorne created a heartwarming tale of women’s solidarity centered around faith and forgiveness above all. I hate to trade in clichés, but never judging a book by its cover applies here.

1967. Dublin. The locally adored mother of Chrissie (Laura Linney) has passed away, prompting her estranged daughter to return to Ireland from the U.S. for the funeral. She’s not welcome by the friends and family of her mother. Chrissie was forced to leave Ireland as a young woman to avoid a scandal, the details of which are gradually revealed. It’s safe to say the reason will resonate with modern audiences. Will Chrissie be able to overcome her history of scandal in the community?

“…Chrissie was forced to leave Ireland as a young woman to avoid a scandal…”

Several women orbit our lead. First is former friend Eileen (Kathy Bates). Then there’s Lily (Maggie Smith), a hobbled matriarch, while Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) is a young mother struggling to connect with her mute son and brutish husband. All of these women have personal struggles but are united by the difficulties of living through a traditional society that frankly doesn’t place a high value on the social and mental well-being of women. An opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the French city of Lourdes subsequently provides hope for miracles, both large and small.

The cast of The Miracle Club is stacked. It’s what will draw most to the film in the first place, and the players more than deliver. Linney can do no wrong (including carrying Ozark), and she gives a convincing, world-weary performance. Bates, too, excels as a strong character with no shortage of vitriol. Considering the variety of roles she’s had throughout her career, it’s not unreasonable to assume at this point that the woman is capable of anything. Smith has nothing left to prove at this point, but at 88 years old, she’s still managing to make audiences laugh.

The Miracle Club isn’t for everyone. There are moments when the writing is overly-saccharine, and we might want more of an edge to spice up the narrative. Still, O’Sullivan and crew do an excellent job. While at first glance, it may not seem to be relevant to this generation of movie-goers, it increases in relevance as the narrative unfolds. This is an inspiring and emotional watch with one’s mom, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Miracle Club (2023)

Directed: Thaddeus O'Sullivan

Written: Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager, Jimmy Smallhorne

Starring: Laura Linney, Kathy Bates, Maggie Smith, Agnes O'Casey, Mark O'Halloran, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

The Miracle Club Image

"…inspiring and emotional..."

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