The Miracle Club begins in Dublin, 1967, where Chrissie Ahearn (Laura Linney – Ozark) is attending her mother, Maureen’s, funeral, even though she’s been away from the area for 40 years, having left under rather a cloud, and is being castigated for her absence by the narrow-minded residents who’d rather sit in their own backwater for their entire lives and stew about everything, treating everyone coming into their community as if it’s Royston Vasey and is only a local place for local people.
The embittered locals include Maureen’s friend, Lily Fox (Maggie Smith), along with Eileen Dunne (Kathy Bates – Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret.), who’s sick of husband Frank (Stephen Rea – Flesh And Blood), and Dolly Hennessy (Agnes O’Casey – Ridley Road), who needs a break from her own husband.
As such, courtesy of the local All Star Talent Show competition – where the 1st prize is tickets for Lourdes, and the second prize is a boiled bacon joint – it’s off for a vacation to Lourdes, everyone is either looking for a cure – including Eileen who has had a cancer scare – or, at least, some way to improve their lives.
From the trailer, this looked like a pretty decent comedy, but in the end, if there were a number of jokes in the script, they all appear to have been exorcised in the final cut.
Hence, you could class this as a ‘gentle comedy’, so gentle that it barely starts. There’s also short shrift for the men in the script, since they all get left at home. Also, given the starting location and the era, there’s heavy talk about abortion and it seems to be a place you can only live in, if you’re miserable as sin.
Plus, one character has to say to Kathy Bates’ character, “Come on, Eileen”.
And I could’ve bet my house as to whether or not all disagreements had been put aside by the end of a long 90 minutes. Would I still have somewhere to live? What do you think…
Running time: 90 minutes
Release date: October 13th 2023
Studio: Lionsgate UK
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan
Producers: Larry Bass, Chris Curling, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson, John P Gleeson, Joshua D Maurer, Oisín O’Neill, Alixandre Witlin
Story: Jimmy Smallhorne
Screenplay: Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, Joshua D Maurer
Music: Edmund Butt
Lily Fox: Maggie Smith
Chrissie Ahearn: Laura Linney
Eileen Dunne: Kathy Bates
Dolly Hennessy: Agnes O’Casey
Frank Dunne: Stephen Rea
Father Dermot Byrne: Mark O’Halloran
Daniel Hennessy: Eric Smith
George Hennessy: Mark McKenna
Tommy Fox: Niall Buggy
Cathy Dunne: Hazel Doupe
Maureen: Brenda Fricker (voice)
Patrick Dunne: Luke Smith
Mrs. Connolly: Fionnuala Murphy
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.