Hollywood Has Re-Discovered Religion

Susan Granger’s Hollywood Has Re-Discovered Religion


While Biblical epics – like Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” – have always been popular, Hollywood has now discovered that religion sells and, as everyone knows, that’s the bottom-line of show business.

So, right now, several inspirational movies can be seen at the multiplex. Whether they’re good or bad seems to make little difference to their faith-based audience, one that is thirsting for recognition.

Back in 2007, Sony Pictures established its own label – Affirm – for Christian evangelical projects, like “Heaven Is for Real,” starring Greg Kinnear, and its latest is the melodrama, “Miracles From Heaven,” with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah.

Adapted by Randy Brown from Christy Beam’s 2015 memoir, directed by Patricia Riggen (“The 33”) and produced by megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, it tells the amazing story of a nine year-old suburban Texas girl who inexplicably recovers from a hopeless medical condition after surviving a potentially deadly fall.

Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) experiences a crisis of faith when her daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) is diagnosed with an incurable digestive disorder that distends her belly and causes chronic pain.  The entire Beam family becomes stressed-out as they struggle to pay for expensive treatments and consult a pediatric gastroenterologist (Eugenio Derbez) in Boston.

Then an accident happens: falling, headfirst, 30 feet inside a hollow tree trunk, Anna’s condition goes into spontaneous remission and she, miraculously, recovers. After firefighters pull her out, unharmed, Anna tells her mother that she went to heaven and talked to Jesus during the ordeal.

“This movie is about something that I’ve always held dear and close to my heart,” notes Jennifer Garner. “I’m proud of growing up a good little churchgoing United Methodist girl.”

Other current God-related films include “Risen,” “The Young Messiah” and “God’s Not Dead 2.” What all of these have in common is a sense of optimism and renewal, even if there is suffering and loss.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, “Miracles From Heaven” is a sweetly spiritual 6, gently wagging a finger at non-believers.