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Movie Review: THE MIRACLE CLUB (2023): Thaddeus O’Sullivan delivers a little gem with a great cast

Laura Linney Maggie Smith The Miracle Club

Miracle Club Review

The Miracle Club (2023) Movie reviewor movie run by Thaddeus O’Sullivanwritten by Joshua D. Maurer, Timothy Prager AND Jimmy Smallhorne and playing Laura Linney, Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Agnes O’Casey, Mark O’Halloran, Stephen Rea, Mark McKenna, Hazel Doupe, Niall Buggy, Lesley Conroy, Janet Grene, Shauna Higgins, Martin McDonagh AND Fionnuala Murphy.

Laura Linney stars in director Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s heartfelt and poignant little drama, Club of Miracles. Set in the late 1960s, a woman named Chrissie (Linney) returns to a small Dublin village called Ballygar after the death of her mother. There is a story that Chrissie carries with her and, over the course of this film, she finds a new purpose and comes to terms with her challenging past. Club of Miracles it’s the kind of film that independent film audiences will appreciate, and it has other high-profile cast members that include the always terrific Kathy Bates and the incomparable Maggie Smith.

Bates and Smith portray Eileen Dunn and Lily Fox, a pair of elderly women looking for some kind of peace in their current lives. Eileen is married to a man (Stephen Rea) who only sometimes seems to understand her and the sacrifices she has made to raise a family. Lily’s past includes a previous relationship with Chrissie that is very complex in nature. Also joining the undefeated cast is Agnes O’Casey as Dolly, a woman with several children and a husband who doesn’t seem to understand her desires in life. Dolly wants to hear her son say something. Dolly’s son has not spoken and this worries Dolly greatly.

When our four central women finally all pile together on a bus bound for the town of Lourdes, they expect to find some kind of miracle that will help them make sense of their complicated lives. Eileen has found a lump that may be suspicious, while Lily never seems to understand why she had to lose her son Declan at such an early age. Chrissie is the one who at first doesn’t seem to fit in with the other women for very specific reasons.

An intriguing scene within the film is also a bit of humor in nature. It involves the discovery of healing water which is supposed to lead to miracles. When Eileen dives into the water, she’s in for big things as Dolly tries to bring her son into the water too. Our ladies discover that water has only performed less than a hundred miracles over the past 100 years, so they shouldn’t depend too much on finding instant gratification in their lives just yet.

It’s the quieter moments in the film that stand out, like when Chrissie and a few other characters do the old dance called the “Hokey Pokey” in the background. Also particularly strong are the awkward moments where Chrissie feels like maybe she shouldn’t have come back for her mother’s funeral. Her mother has left her a note, and it seems it’s too little, too late for Chrissie to return to town. However, there are plenty of connections for Chrissie to make with Eileen and, especially, Lily, which could teach her a thing or two about self-forgiveness and appreciating being around others.

The real surprise of this movie isn’t how great Linney, Smith, and Bates are, it’s how great Agnes O’Casey is as Dolly, the mother who challenges her husband to do what’s right for her son. This is a star-making role for O’Casey against some heavy hitters that O’Casey more than keeps close at hand. Dolly is a well-written and earnest character who longs to find fulfillment and cannot come to terms with the mundane life that seems to have been handed down to her. She wants more, especially for her children and learns a little about herself and her friends along the way.

Bates is predictably in the lead in one of her most nuanced recent performances. Smith and Linney share some wonderful scenes together where they ache and hurt emotionally over events that happened in the past. While this hurt is great, the healing power of friendship takes center stage as the film progresses towards its conclusion, where all these women have learned a little more about themselves and characters like Eileen’s husband and Dolly’s husband discover that there is much more to appreciate about them. women than they had originally understood.

For whatever reason, Linney is the glue that holds this movie together. Chrissie is fully fleshed out as a flawed character, but there is humanity in her soul that makes her a person of character who needs to find her reason to live again. She had given up on life a little before and, after all, she finds a kind of happy medium in her life. Another standout performance is that of Mark O’Halloran as Father Dermot Byrne, while Rea has a few standout moments when his character cooks a dinner for his family, which they hilariously don’t seem too keen on. happy to eat it because it is not very tasty.

Club of Miracles it’s a small feat for the talent involved in terms of pacing, plot structure, and character development. It is a bigger success based on the quality of the acting. It’s always great to see Linney working again and Agnes O’Casey is an actress to put on your radar. She deserves a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in this film, and we can only hope enough people see it to put her in the running.

ASSESSMENT: 7.5/10

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