Friday, July 14, 2023

Actors and faith steer 'The Miracle Club' toward a few uplifting places

Not necessarily because of anything otherworldly, "The Miracle Club" may slowly grow on viewers simply by being blessed with a sparkling cast and a large Irish heart that eventually overflows in all the properly spiritual ways.

Those raised as Catholics and learning to embrace all the tales we heard and read about the sanctity and healing powers of Lourdes even might help a few of us through some spotty early moments in this typically small, Sony Pictures Classics-distributed indie. 

Mostly, though, it becomes Laura Linney, Kathy Bates, Maggie Smith and radiant newcomer Agnes O'Casey, all making us believe that such plot peculiarities actually could have occurred near Dublin, circa 1967. Naturally, it is a rampantly religious community, where everything revolves around the local church and its kindly priest (Mark O'Halloran).

In this case, a talent show offering a first prize of a bus trip to Lourdes, France, becomes the parish's latest big event. And somehow -- miraculously perhaps? -- neighborhood pals portrayed by Bates, Smith, and O'Casey wind up with the winnings after precariously warbling the Chiffons classic, "He's So Fine," of all things.

Fourth wheel Linney, as an estranged daughter returning for her beloved mom's funeral, joins in early, too, to fill in the necessary historical blanks and perhaps deliver the pivotal performance essential to igniting much of the heart-tugging healing process. 

By the way, though not so relevant to story here, the grand Stephen Rea, still likely best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in 1993's "The Crying Game," provides bits of husbandly humor as the dizzy mate of Bates' high-strung lassie.  

Rated "PG-13" by MPAA: thematic elements and some language; 1:31; $ $ $ out of $5

Also new in theaters today: "Psycho-Pass: Providence" and "They Cloned Tyrone (debuts July 21 on Netflix as well). 

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