Coming to theatres from director Thaddeus O’Sullivan and Sony Picture Classics comes the story of faith, friendship and THE MIRACLE CLUB.
Ballyfermot, Ireland in the 1960’s is where Eileen Dunne (Kathy Bates), Lily Fox (Maggie Smith) and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) prepare to perform trying to win church tickets to go to Lourdes in France. Dolly wants to take her young son to the healing waters in hopes that he will start talking and Eileen discovers she has her own reasons to go.
Also in town is Chrissie (Laura Linney), who is has not been back to Dublin since she was a young woman. Now, she is home to take care of funeral arrangements for her mother. There is a past between Eileen and Lily that keeps them at arm’s length from Chrissie. The husbands Mr. Fox (Naill Buggy), Mr. Dunne (Stephen Rea) and Dolly’s husband (Mark McKenna) aren’t happy that the women are boarding the bus to Lourdes either, but the wives aren’t giving them a choice.
All aboard, Friar Dermot Byrne (Mark O’Halloran) knows there is tension between the women but his hope is that they can find it within themselves to talk it out. There is a lot of snide looks and side eye and no one seems willing to budge.
As they visit the holy site in Lourdes, they begin to try and talk to one another. The past with Lily has to do with her son and Chrissie when they were younger and the events are quite sad for them both. The issue with Eileen and Chrissie also has to do with when they were young and hurt feelings that were never resolved.
The only one that seems to enjoy Chrissie’s company is Dolly and her young son who is waiting to be dipped in the waters of Lourdes. As their stories come to the surface, it is either the sacred waters or the women themselves that learn about true healing.
Bates as Eileen leads off this cheeky band of women who are not shy about saying what they thing or how they feel. Going to Lourdes is a dream for Eileen and she makes no bones that nothing is going to stop her, not even Mr. Dunne. Threats and all, she boards the bus hoping for more than she’s telling her friends. I just adore Bates in everything she does and has done, this is a fantastic role for her.
Smith as Lily has been living with sorrow and illness of her own. The trip to Lourdes has so many possibilities and Lily is open to them all. Smith is just lovely in this role because she has the wonderful skill of drawing us into her world. I’ve watched almost everything she has ever done as she continues to be a part of story telling on the big screen and small.
Linney as Chrissie comes back to the place she ran from so many years ago. Taking care of her mother’s passing, there is no way that her connection to Eileen and Lily can be ignored. Taking the bus to Lourdes, she sort of forces the women to talk out what ever has been on their hearts for so long. Linney is a strong force among strong women and she does have her own story to share.
O’Casey as Dolly just wants to take her son to the waters of Lourdes in hopes he will speak. She strikes up a friendship with Chrissie and doesn’t feel as the other women do. O’Casey gives us the performance of a mother willing to do anything to make her son’s life easier and truly believes that Lourdes is the answer.
Buggy and Rea are husbands who can not grasp why their wives would believe in Lourdes. Mainly they are upset because of the raging question of ‘who is going to take care of me?’ is forefront in their minds. They are about to both learn a valuable lesson. McKenna is about to learn what it is like to take care of a toddler!
Shout out to O’Halloran as Friar Byrne for portraying a man of the cloth who hears more than he ever wanted to and still believes in the power of faith.
Other cast include Lesley Conroy as Sister Alice, Hazel Doupe as Cathy, Shauna Higgins as Ruth, Fionnuala Murphy as Mrs. Connolly, Eric Smith as Daniel Hennessy, Luke Smith as Patrick Dunne.
Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit www.sonyclassics.com.
I saw the black and white 1943 film SONG OF BERNADETTE which tells the story of a young girl who sees ‘a beautiful lady’ and discovers the waters of Lourdes. It is one of my favorite films directed by Henry King and Jennifer Jones playing the young Bernadette. When I read the premise of this film, I knew I had to see it.
THE MIRACLE CLUB is a charming film dealing with women who are looking for healing on so many levels. The trip to Lourdes is something each one dreams of for their own personal reasons and when they arrive, it is nothing short of jaw dropping for them.
Although the story is centered around Lourdes, it is each of these actresses that brings the story so much more heart and so much more faith. Each character has a sadness that they themselves must come to terms with and it is their history that has never kept them very far apart from one another.
In the end – healing is in the eye of the beholder!