Hello Happy Valley.
Yesterday I went to see 17 Miracles. Partly this was due to my recent article where I said I would review a handful of recent Mormon Cinema, but largely it’s because I’d been hearing some pretty great things about the movie.
And it deserves every bit of the praise.
When I went to see it yesterday, I went to a matinee at the Provo Towne Centre, partly because they’re cheaper, and partly because they’re usually pretty empty. I had trafic problems and got there just minutes before the movie, and when I finally got into the theater, it was so full that I had to sit several rows closer than I typically like. Aparently the word’s getting out about this one.
Now, before I get too far, I must state that this movie is not exactly a litteral telling of the events. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that explains two things. 1) The movie acts as if the Willie and Martin handcart companies had left at the same time when, in fact, the Martin company left three weeks after the Willie. 2) The timeline has been changed slightly, placing some of the miracles presented in the movie out of order. However, they make it very clear that every miracle presented actually happened.
That being said, I will admit that if you watch this movie without the right mindset, a couple of the events seem more magical than faith-promoting. But isn’t that the way of miracles some times?
Also, when you go into a movie titled “17 Miracles”, I dare you to watch it without trying to count them. I was able to count 17 events, but a couple of the ones that I counted were more like prophetic deaths. Are those the real miracles? I’d appreciate it if you’d give me a list of the miracles at the end, movie.
Not that any of that detracts from the movie itself. It’s very well acted (though some of the English accents don’t sound quite right at times) and some of the sequences nearly brought me to tears.
LDS audiences will recognize some of the events. Such as the crossing of the frozen river. But there are plenty of events here that, unless you are an LDS scholar, will be very new to you.
Now, I’ve started my series of LDS film reviews with this one because it’s in theaters now. But frankly I have to admit that, were it not for others coming before it, this would not exist. It’s a great movie, but a few years ago, nobody would have even dared to tell this kind of story without trying to add some kind of Hollywood glamour to it or maybe messing with the story.
The movie is unlikely to convert those who are hostile to the LDS faith. As I said, without the right mindset, several of the events appear to be simple hocum. But for those LDS and non-LDS alike out there who simply want to see a film that talks about the ways that the Lord looks out for those who follow Him with all their heart, there’s a very moving story here.
17 Miracles is rated PG for portrayal of hardships and suffering.