The Miracle Club Movie Review

the miracle club film review

by ihsan
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There is something a touch retro about “The Miracle Club.” “The Miracle Club,” which is set in 1967 Ireland and boasts three formidable Oscar-winning and/or nominated actresses (none of them are Irish), has magnificent cinematography, location shooting, and a pleasant message in which each character receives a satisfying arc. Clichés are effective for a reason. With a script (by Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, and Joshua D. Maurer, based on a story by Smallhorne) where the discoveries can be seen coming from three fields away, Emmy-nominated director Thaddeus O’Sullivan is attentive to nuances and nuance, which is very important. Years of discussion have resulted in “The Miracle Club” being a reality with Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, and Laura Linney in the lead roles.

Lifelong friends Lily (Smith) and Eileen (Bates) reside in a working-class neighborhood in Dublin that is really just a few blocks. There is a lot of gossip, everyone knows everyone else, and long-standing grudges exist in this small community. Lily, Eileen, and Dolly’s (Agnes O’Casey) considerably younger friend enter a talent competition at the neighborhood parish. The award? Tickets to Lourdes, a pilgrimage site in France that all of the women, regardless of their grumbles, are devoted to and wish to attend. Every lady is in need of a miracle. Eileen kept her breast bulge a secret from everyone. She also hasn’t visited a doctor. Eileen is content to leave her husband (Stephen Rea) and her large brood of kids because they keep her so busy. Lily is still grieving the loss of her son Declan, who perished in a drowning many years ago. Eric Smith, Dolly’s small son, is mute or unwilling to talk, and Dolly is hoping for a solution.

This small neighborhood’s rhythm quickly becomes apparent, and the atmosphere is welcoming and cozy. Beginning with breathtaking sweeps of Irish green and the azure water, the magnificent cliffs and rocks, Ireland personified, John Conroy’s cinematography sets the scene. However, he takes just as much care to preserve the closeness of the location and the small block of houses with their colorful doors. The residences feel lived in, authentic, and not condescendingly portrayed thanks to John Hand’s production design. It’s cozy and authentic.

Naturally, Lily and Eileen are hiding something, and when Chrissie (Linney) arrives back in town in time to see the talent show, all of their secrets erupt into the open. There is obviously a lot of nasty water under the bridge since she has been gone from the area for decades. Lily looks down at Eileen, who is unable to even look at her. Dolly, who has no understanding what is happening, warms up to Chrissie right away. Before you know it, the quartet is on its way to Lourdes, asking for individual, material, and spiritual miracles through turns of events and coincidences.


It’s obvious how this will end, but there’s always something to delve into and appreciate when you have women like Bates (her accent is a little inconsistent) and Smith (whose accent is excellent). For the majority of the movie, Linney’s character, who is the antithesis of expressive, maintains this trait, but as the women’s stay in Lourdes goes on, cracks begin to appear in the façade. Particularly Smith provides a heartbreaking portrayal, remorse and shame practically pouring from her eyes while her attempts to hide it with an imposing demeanor. She performs both at once. Smith is “unsurprisingly” fantastic, but one should avoid the temptation to say that. We shouldn’t take Maggie Smith for granted because she always surprises us!

O’Casey is very affecting during the moving moments, but the movie tilts into very shallow water once the “miracles” start happening. The interaction of feelings and resentments, the absurdity of harboring grudges, and the underlying suffering of these ladies are at their best when they are most casual. Additionally, we are given to somewhat amusing scenes of the guys at home breaking down without their women: they now have to go grocery shopping, they now have to change diapers, and my how clumsy they are! Even though this is a period piece set in a society that hasn’t yet been affected by the 1960s upheavals, these moments are nevertheless very repetitive.

However, it is worthwhile to hold out for Smith to deliver the phrase, “God punished me for taking him away like that.” The line is drawn from her heart and soul, and the shallow waters give way to the deep right away.

Now playing in theaters.


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