The Third Miracle by Agnieszka Holland (Review)

If you’re looking for a film that doesn’t trivialize the struggles that faith and conviction can bring, this is a good one.

Discussions of faith in movies is always a tricky thing. On one hand, you risk being preachy and heavyhanded; on the other hand, you risk making a film full of New Age-isms and ​“warm fuzzies.” The Third Miracle walks this line, precariously balanced between the two poles, though by it’s conclusion, it leans toward the latter.

Ed Harris (one of the more underrated actors in the biz) plays Father Frank Shore, a Catholic priest whose job is to determine whether or not a person nominated for sainthood is worthy. After a certain instance where his findings destroyed a community’s faith, he finds his faith and conviction lacking. Called into investigate the case of a woman whose death has supposedly brought about a series of miracles, his faith and religious convictions get pushed to their limits.

Especially trying are his newfound feelings for the woman’s daughter, with whom Shore finds himself falling in love (a serious problem for a priest). The first half of this film is excellent, as Shore begins his investigations and digs into the woman’s life. However, its second half leans too far into the melodramatic side of things, as Shore rediscovers his ​“purpose,” if you will.

The end of the film feels a little too ​“gift-wrapped” for my taste. Everything feels neat and tidy. But still, if you’re looking for a film that doesn’t trivialize the struggles that faith and conviction can bring, this is a good one.