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The Miracle Club (in cinemas – 3rd of August)

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Do you believe in miracles?

I’m unsure if I do or even if I would recognise one if I saw it.

Apparently, millions of intelligent individuals worldwide do believe and hold tight to the idea that a miracle could, and sometimes should, happen to them.

It’s 1967, and while parts of the world were violently arguing their cause, a small Catholic parish on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, is praying for a miracle.

The Miracle Club is set in a working-class town and centres around three local and one (used to be local) women who desperately need and want miracles to be very real.

Returning home for her estranged mother’s funeral after forty years of living in Boston, Chrissie (Laura Linney) finds the world she so hastily left behind is still full of bitterness and blame.

On her arrival, she discovers that the local church where her mother’s funeral is being held is also holding an All Star Talent Show that was organised by her mother, with the winner receiving a voucher to join the parish holy pilgrimage to Lourdes in France.

This delightful story tells how three local women, Lily (Maggie Smith), Eileen (Kathy Bates), and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey), each have their own need to win the competition as they take the stage as a singing trio.

I’ll avoid any unnecessary ‘spoilers’ and just say that all three manage to get their vouchers.

After a debate with their slightly sceptical husbands, these three true believers excitedly board the bus to miracle central.

Unexpectedly Chrissie, after experiencing some confronting hostility from two of the women, surprises everyone and decides to join the pious tour.

It doesn’t take long before it becomes evident that not only Chrissie is fighting the demons still lingering from 1927 when she fell pregnant to Lily’s now deceased son Declan. Not being married, she was heartlessly scorned by her treacherous friends and neighbours and left with no alternative but to flee the bitter gossip. Unfortunately, Declan drowns, and Lilly and Chrissie, each in their own way, carry the burden of guilt.

What happens once they are at Hotel De Bernadette in Lourdes is both unexpected and totally out of character for all. There are also a few surprises awaiting them back at home when their husbands are left to fend for themselves.

Although it might sound like it, this is not a religious story.

It is a tale of love, hope, faith, grief, bitter grudges, belief, doubt, disappointment, redemption and forgiveness. There is also a little awakening about some of the propaganda the church spins thrown in for good measure.

Although it is set in Ireland in the 60s, it clearly manages to avoid any reference to the political troubles of the time.

I suppose, in reality, what we might call a miracle is more like a wish that comes true.

If they don’t work out the way we want, they are usually considered a waste of time.

It is when they give us the result we want that we become instant believers.

If I got anything from this delightful tale, it is that we might not always get what we wish for, but if we look hard enough, we might see that we already have what we need. That’s life.

Don’t be put off by the title, this is a heart-warming story that can be enjoyed by all, no matter your religion.

 

Click the link below to view the trailer

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