The Miracle Club

I'm going to my psychoanalyst one more year, then I'm going to Lourdes.Woody Allen

It’s a miracle The Miracle Club made it to mainstream theaters because it’s the thinnest of plots—four Irish ladies travel to France’s Lourdes, the greatest healing mecca in the world. That they carry with them enough emotional baggage to carry the film is devoutly to be wished and partly realized.

As Chrissie (Laura Linney) returns to her small Irish town outside Dublin in 1967, she is derided by aging Eileen (Kathy Bates), her former bestie, and Lily (Maggie Smith), an elderly matron carrying significant guilt over the death of her son, Chrissie’s deceased lover. The drama centers on the way the four ladies have dealt with such divisive actions as his suicide and abortion. We have seen these family hotbeds over the years in Irish and English dramas; The Miracle Club is a bit like most of them.

The driver of this cliched action is the willingness to “bury the hatchet.” So pervasive is this urge to bury, opportunities for more interesting interaction are lost, such as that between Lily and the guiding priest, Fr Dermot Byrne (Mark O’Halloran). There is so much more the wise priest could offer about reconciliation and miracles if given the chance. At least, the filmmakers don’t make their protagonists cute, as they have Maggie, even when she’s also immovable, as in Downton Abbey.

Although director Thaddeus O’Sullivan reveals that in the decades since Chrissie hightailed it out of town, Lourdes has nurtured the visitor trade, the town still has the miracle awe to it despite only 62 miracles since a visitation by The blessed Virgin Mary. From my Catholic youth, I can vouch for the enduring magic of Lourdes and The Virgin Mary.

The Miracle Club can’t compete with Indiana Jones or Ethan Hunt, but it can give you a cool, low-key entertainment for the height of summer.

The Miracle Club

Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Stella Days)

Screenplay: Joshua D. Maureret, et al.

Cast: Laura Linney (Kinsey), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game)

Run Time: 1h 31m

Rating: PG-13

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and hosts Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take out of WCBE 90.5 FM. Contact him at

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
John DeSando holds a BA from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in English from The University of Arizona. He served several universities as a professor, dean, and academic vice president. He has been producing and broadcasting as a film critic on It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics for more than two decades. DeSando received the Los Angeles Press Club's first-place honors for national entertainment journalism.