The Third Miracle

Agnieszka Holland's solid adaptation of Richard Vetere's ecclesiastical mystery novel poses some thorny questions for the more spiritual-minded among us to ponder as the second millennium draws to a close, notably: What's the meaning of contemporary sainthood, and how do miracles figure into our fallen world? Father Frank Shore (Ed Harris) is a Chicago...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Agnieszka Holland's solid adaptation of Richard Vetere's ecclesiastical mystery novel poses some thorny questions for the more spiritual-minded among us to ponder as the second millennium draws to a close, notably: What's the meaning of contemporary sainthood, and

how do miracles figure into our fallen world? Father Frank Shore (Ed Harris) is a Chicago priest in the paradoxical position of investigating the truth of what, by nature, defy rational explanation: miracles. Father Frank's clear-eyed investigations and eventual debunking of supposedly miraculous

phenomena have earned him the nickname "The Miracle Killer," and he's been responsible for shaking the faith of many a true believer, himself included. But when he's sent to investigate a marble statue of the Virgin Mary that appears to weep tears of blood in an inner-city Catholic schoolyard, he

begins to once again question the possibility of the miraculous. The statue began weeping during the memorial service for a saintly Austrian immigrant who once worked as a humble cleaning woman at the school. The tears are believed to have cured a little girl of lupus — a miracle to be sure,

and one of the three needed for possible sainthood. As Father Frank delves into the mystery of the statue, he's chosen to plead the woman's cause for canonization. But his devotion is further tested when he becomes personally involved with the potential saint's far more secular daughter (Anne

Heche). Without offering any hard and fast solutions to the essential mystery, this is a thought provoking drama about the nature of belief and devotion that never feels exclusionary, and features another in a long line of fine, understated performance from Harris. In a role that could have easily

led to much gnashing of teeth and histrionic soul-searching, Harris holds steady, charting the emotionally honest course of a good man who's lost his faith but would sacrifice everything to regain it.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Agnieszka Holland's solid adaptation of Richard Vetere's ecclesiastical mystery novel poses some thorny questions for the more spiritual-minded among us to ponder as the second millennium draws to a close, notably: What's the meaning of contemporary sainth… (more)

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