The Miracle Club parents guide

The Miracle Club Parent Guide

The downside to the powerhouse cast is the problem of unfulfilled expectations.

Overall B-

Theaters: Four women with interconnected backstories take a trip to the Catholic shrine of Lourdes in search of miracles.

Release date July 14, 2023

Violence A-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B-
Substance Use C+

Why is The Miracle Club rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Miracle Club PG-13 for thematic elements and some language

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It’s an unlikely musical trio: Lily (Maggie Smith), a bereaved elderly woman with a wooden leg; Eileen (Kathy Bates), the overloaded mother of six; and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey), a young mother worried about her mute son. Disparate though their lives may be, the three Irish Catholic women are united in their desire to travel to the sacred shrine of Lourdes in search of a miracle. To that end, they are singing in the parish talent contest in hopes of winning a trip to the site sanctified by the Virgin Mary.

Eileen, Dolly, and Lily are a surprising hit, but a sour note sounds when Chrissie (Laura Linney) walks in. Having left Dublin under a cloud forty years ago, Chrissie hastened back due to her mother’s death. Her return reopens old wounds for her erstwhile friends and neighbors and barely suppressed feelings of hurt, betrayal, and guilt weave through their interactions. It’s a long journey to Lourdes, and the women will have plenty of time to ponder grief, responsibility, love, and forgiveness and to reconsider the kind of miracles they seek.

The Miracle Club is a restrained little film, with no action scenes or digital effects. It’s intimate in scope, dealing with relationships between friends and spouses, for better or worse. This quiet story moves along through whispered words, lifted brows, and changed hearts. As such, the film relies entirely on the skill of its cast, and here director Thaddeus O’Sullivan scores a big win. It’s no surprise that Kathy Bates, Laura Linney, and Maggie Smith deliver compelling performances, although I must point out that Maggie Smith’s diction is sometimes unclear. Whether this is a dental issue or a directorial decision, it’s distracting.

There is one downside to having such a powerhouse cast and that’s the problem of elevated expectations. With these women on board, I expected a perfect film, and got a fine one instead. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s missing. The cast is wonderful, the writing good, the tension consistent, the mid-1960s wardrobes a feast for the eyes. Even the experiences of the women’s husbands left at home are fun. I think what’s missing is a deeper dive into the characters’ faith or lack thereof. All of the women struggle with challenges to their beliefs or regret for lost faith and this is one of the most interesting parts of the film. The script also succeeds when it tackles the topic of miracles – the ones the women hope for and the ones they receive. As the parish priest (Mark O’Halloran) tells a faltering member of his flock, “You don’t come for a miracle. You come for the strength to go on when there is no miracle.” This story is a reminder that courage, perseverance, and forgiveness are miracles in their own right and they should not be overlooked or discounted. The movie may be imperfect, but its message is valuable and well worth considering.

Directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan. Starring Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Laura Linney, Agnes O'Casey. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release July 14, 2023. Updated

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The Miracle Club
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Miracle Club rated PG-13? The Miracle Club is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements and some language

Violence: There’s mention of a past death by drowning. Sexual Content: Reference is made to an illegitimate pregnancy. Men, women and children are seen wearing only towels in a religious ritual context. There is a conversation about abortion and attempted abortion. Profanity: There are a half dozen terms of deity, minor profanities, and anatomical terms. There is a single scatological curse. Alcohol / Drug Use: A woman takes valium as prescribed by a physician. An adult woman smokes. Adults drink alcohol in a social setting.

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The Miracle Club Parents' Guide

Do you have a religious tradition that encourages pilgrimages? What do you think would be the benefits?

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