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Jennifer Garner Calls Miracles from Heaven a "Transformative" Experience

Jennifer Garner in Miracles from Heaven
Movie Info
 

RATING:

PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images

GENRES:

Drama

RELEASE:

March 16, 2016

STARRING:

Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson, Kylie Rogers, Eugenio Derbez, Queen Latifah, Brighton Sharbino, Courtney Fansler, John Carroll Lynch

DIRECTOR:

Patricia Riggen

DISTRIBUTOR:

Sony Pictures

More on this movie at IMDb.com

Get Miracles from Heaven on DVD and Blu-ray

Editors Note: Earning $61 million at the box office, Miracles from Heaven is this year's biggest faith movie and now it's available on DVD and Blu-ray. The digital release features deleted scenes, directory commentary, and much more. Check it out!

Jennifer Garner's separation from Ben Affleck, her husband of 10 years, has splashed across every tabloid and gossip column since the news broke last July. More than half a year later, they still grace entertainment sites, especially with Affleck's recent reaction to Garner's exclusive with Vanity Fair.

But in the midst of it all, something else was at work. Last July, in the middle of the separation news, Garner was filming a little movie called Miracles from Heaven. It's a new Sony Pictures release based on author Christy Beam's inspirational book about what happened when her daughter Annabel, who was suffering from terminal disease, experienced a bizarre event that saved her life.

Garner, a dedicated mom of three, took on the role of Christy in this retelling of those real-life events and the result is a quality film about God answering a prayer even when all hope seems lost.

While at a Sunday service at Bishop T.D. Jakes' church in Dallas, Texas, this past February, Garner joined Christy on stage to share about their life-changing journey together. It was then that Garner glowingly reported that getting to know Christy was "transformative".

Later that afternoon, Garner explained what she meant in more detail. Asked how the Beams' unbelievable story encouraged her personally, she said:

"There's so many ways that it feels almost really personal to talk about actually. But, I would say that it reaffirmed things about myself that I had not brought to the forefront of my life for a while. It made me focus more on small moments and on…I always say my mom was very serious about if you don't find joy in small things, you're not going to be happy. Happiness is your responsibility; so, take joy. Don't just enjoy a bite of your sandwich or a conversation, or something beautiful, take joy from it. So it reignited that in me, and it also gave me a huge sense of perspective and gratitude."

Growing up in West Virginia, Garner was from a church-going home. In a 2009 interview with Parade, Garner recalled one of her mom's favorite sayings, Psalm 30:5 ("Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning").

Since taking part in this faith-friendly film, Garner has gone back to church. Now, she makes it a family affair, taking her kids along with her to a local Methodist church.

Thinking back to her time on set, under the direction of Patricia Riggen and along with her co-stars Martin Henderson and Queen Latifah, Garner acknowledged a different quality about it.

"I noticed that there was a real atmosphere of openness," she said. "I mean, actors do not tend to sit around and talk about going to church or about faith or about how they're raising their kids in the world with regards to faith. But, this was a different experience where it was definitely a part of our behind-the-scenes conversation. Maybe part of it was being in Atlanta, but I think most of it was just being part of this story, and that was really refreshing and different."

While reading Christy's book in preparation for the movie, Garner discovered that being a part of "this story" meant something. And that at its core, Miracles from Heaven is about a strong Texas mom who would not give up no matter what obstacles came her family's way. Even while struggling to have faith as she watched her daughter writhe in pain from an incurable disease, Christy stood firm. That strength spoke to Garner.

"Sometimes I will find myself quoting an entire passage just because I've read it so much, because it's a fantastic book," Garner said. "I was a total disaster mess."

Given what happened to Annabel, it's no wonder that reliving the horrible memories concerned Christy.

"I was very apprehensive," the Miracles of Heaven mom said. "I had a lot of angst because I just didn't know the whole process. I was completely trusting God in His desire and His vision. But, after I met with Jen the very first time, there was such a peace in my heart. I felt like she had the same passion that I had. She had the same vision and same heart that I had for where it would go. I just began to settle in and know that it was going to be OK."

Watching Garner act eased Christy's anxiety about having her family's trials and tribulations up on the big screen for all to see. And she knows the producers made the right casting call in picking Garner to play her.

"Jen nailed it," Christy said. "I mean, she nailed my heart. She nailed my frustration. She nailed my agony for Annabel's agony. Yeah, it was hard to watch."

Hard to watch though it may be, Miracles from Heaven was the faith-affirming story that Bishop Jakes and co-producer DeVon Franklin had to make, right now.

"Our country needs to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us," Bishop Jakes said, "I realize that this a very daunting task, but I think that film can, in some ways, bring people together in ways that politics and other things will not be able to do. [Miracles from Heaven] is that type of film. Your family, your kids can watch it. Parents can watch it. Generations can watch it. Black, white, brown can watch it because there's not a person on this planet, who's normal, who doesn't want your child to be well."

At the heart of Garner's life now, and at the center of her new movie, Miracles from Heaven, is faith and family. And that's good news for all of us.

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