'Miracles From Heaven' Retells a True Story of Miraculous Healing
DALLAS -- The Easter season brings another faith story to the box office. "Miracles from Heaven" stars Jennifer Garner and tells the story of a Annabel Beam.
"My initial thoughts were I didn't know what to think and I didn't know if I could on a basic level believe the story. And at the same time, I was so moved by it, I just wanted to know more," Garner told CBN News.
A Miracle Story
In the movie, doctors diagnosed Anna with an incurable, deadly digestive disease. She suffered through years of pain, invasive hospital tests, and failed surgeries before doctors sent her home to die.
That is when God healed her in the most unexpected way.
Frustrated with the pain, one day Anna decided to join her sisters in climbing a massive tree on the family farm in Texas. That is when she fell 30 feet head-first into the hollow cottonwood.
The fall left her trapped and unresponsive for hours. Then, unexpectedly, Anna woke up and walked away healed with a story of meeting Jesus in heaven.
Bringing The Miracle to the Big Screen
Anna's mother Christy Beam shared the full story in her book Miracles from Heaven. The book was the foundation for the film, which united a familiar producing team. Bishop T.D. Jakes and former Sony film executive DeVon Franklin worked together on the film "Heaven is for Real."
"It's so funny because the chairman of Sony at the time … called and said, 'We need to do 'Heaven is for Real II,'" Franklin told CBN News, recalling how the project began. "And literally I was like, 'Well, yeah … Colton came back. He is cool, right. He is healed.'
"And she is like, 'No, there is an audience out there that wants more content like this,'" he said.
At that time, Jakes' book agent had Beam's book proposal. Jakes and Franklin took a look at it and jumped on the chance to produce the film.
A Mother's Bond
CBN News screened the film with Annabel and her family in Texas.
"I didn't exactly pray for it, but I knew I was just tired of dealing with it," Anna told CBN News when asked about praying for the miracle. "And I didn't want to have to deal with it anymore. But I wasn't like, 'I hope I fall in a tree and get healed.'"
Christy Beam and Anna were often on set for the filmmaking. And Garner reached out to Christy for guidance on how to bring her life to the big screen.
"[Garner] did an amazing job. She nailed it," Christy said after seeing the film in the theater. "And her heart was so in it from the very beginning. From the moment we met, we just bonded. Maybe as mothers, we just connected."
"And it just warmed my heart because she had my book and she was pouring over the pages," she continued. "She had highlighted some things. She had questions for me about things. She completely engulfed herself in it."
Garner and Christy are both mothers to three children.
"It was very important to me that I brought to screen what I saw in real life, which was the enormous love between this family," Garner said. "And that we be allowed to let there be struggle in that love because that is part of real life. And you can't expect to go through something like this without having moments of strife."
Not Just for Women
Christy Beam is central to this story, but her husband, Dr. Kevin Beam, is a strong character on screen and in life.
"It is a female story. It is about a girl. It is about her mother," Jakes noted. "It was directed by a woman, but it is not a chick flick."
"It does not emasculate men in any way, nor does it trivialize the masculine role. He is still strong. He is still powerful," he continued. "And I think men will enjoy this film because it is not just the dumbing down of masculine role in the home."
This is a story of hope from the heart to the heart.
"I want people to come away feeling hopeful," Garner said. "And I want people come away and feel like they are surrounded by miracles and they are surrounded by love. Sometimes you may have to dig them out."
"It is worth digging them out," she said. "It is worth taking the time to look around you and really find the joy, the joy that already exists in your life."