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THIRD MIRACLE

SYNOPSIS:
Father Frank Shore (Ed Harris) is a postulator - a priest whose job is to investigate claims of miracles by candidates for sainthood. In 1979, heís working in a soup kitchen in Chicago when heís asked to investigate the claim of Helen OíRegan (Barbara Sukowa). She had been a worker at a local parish and is credited with posthumously curing a young girl, Maria Witkowski (Caterina Scorsone), of lupus. Sheís also said to be causing a statue of the Virgin Mary to weep blood. Many years earlier, Frank had disproved "miracles" attributed to another candidate, and as a result, a congregation lost their faith. Not only must he now deal with the faith of a community, he must also contend with Archbishop Werner (Armin Meuller-Stahl), a ferocious "devilís advocate" sent by the Vatican, and Roxanne OíRegan (Anne Heche), Helenís forthright daughter.

"The very basis of faith is belief. It may therefore seem strange that the Catholic Church requires "proof", in the form of miracles, from those advanced for sainthood. But this somewhat bizarre search for miracles provides a fascinating background for Agnieszka Hollandís immensely satisfying and intricate film, The Third Miracle. The title refers to the requirement at the time that a candidate have three miracles attributed to them (the requirement has since been relaxed to two). But this is not the story of a saint in the making; itís the story of faith - in particular the faith of one man, Fr Frank Shore. In the central role, Ed Harris gives one of his best performances. He gives Frank intelligence and integrity while never shying away from his weakness and fallibility. Itís apparent early on that Frank is not exactly a pillar of the church. But in Hollandís capable hands, he becomes a brilliant study of a man of doubts facing down his demons. In that way, heís akin to Paul Newmanís Frank Galvin in The Verdict; and itís not going too far to compare Harrisí performance with Newmanís. But this is far from a one-man show. Anne Heche is also great as the brash Roxanne, for whom her motherís devotion to the church was a failing, not a virtue. Armin Meuller-Stahl brings a wonderful touch as the arrogant Werner. Holland has never been a filmmaker to spoon-feed audiences, so donít come expecting an easy ride. But if youíre prepared to take the journey, The Third Miracle will prove one of the most gratifying films of the year."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

THIRD MIRACLE (M)
(US)

CAST: Ed Harris, Anne Heche, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Michael Rispoli, Charles Haid, Barbara Sukowa, Caterina Scorsone

DIRECTOR: Agnieszka Holland

PRODUCER: Fred Fuchs, Steven Haft, Andrew Stevens

SCRIPT: John Romano (novel by Richard Vetere)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jerzy Zielenski

EDITOR: David Siegel

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert de Vico

RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 21, 2000 (Melbourne only)

VIDEO RELEASE: November 8, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Home Entertainment







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