Neil Jordan's 'Miracle' begins impressively but soon loses its magic

On movies

September 24, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

''The Miracle,'' written and directed by Neil Jordan, is an initially intriguing film that eventually goes farther than it should. The viewer is finally left wondering what it was that Jordan had in mind.

Jordan is the man who wrote and directed ''Mona Lisa,'' ''High Spirits'' and ''We're no Angels.'' The first film was successful. The others were not. In their own ways, however, all were ambitious.

So is ''The Miracle,'' but in this case, Jordan overdoes.

Jordan, born in Ireland, filmed ''The Miracle'' in his home town of Bray. The principal characters are a young boy and his girlfriend. They are not lovers. They are just friends who live in a seaside town where they create background stories for the many people they see.

One of those stories they create is about an American actress, an older woman. The boy, who finds her intriguing, comes on to her. She is resistant but seems to like the boy and she should, because their relationship is closer than he suspects.

There's the rub in this film. The ''secret'' harbored by the woman is one she should reveal long before she does. You sit there, wondering when this woman is going to break the news, and as you do, you lose patience with her and the film, which is regrettable, because when the two younger actors are on camera, ''The Miracle'' has a kind of Irish charm to it. They are engaging, these two, far more than the older members of the cast.

Niall Byrne and Lorraine Pilkington are the younger people. Neither had acted in front of a camera before this, but both are completely at home. Byrne has the kind of mannerisms that should take him some distance, should he choose to continue as a film actor.

Beverly D'Angelo is the American actress who is appearing at a local playhouse. At one point, she sings ''Stardust,'' which has seldom sounded this good.

D'Angelo does her own singing, and as long as she and the others are singing or playing ''Stardust,'' ''The Miracle'' is a pleasure. It is also a pleasure when we first meet the two young people. As the film moves along, however, it becomes stickier by the minute, and as it does, brings both ''Murmur of the Heart'' and ''Luna'' to mind, neither of which is worth this much thought.

''The Miracle'' plays today and tomorrow at the Charles.

''The Miracle''

** A young Irish boy becomes enamored of an older American actress.

CAST: Beverly D'Angelo, Donal McCann, Niall Byrne, Lorraine Pilkington

DIRECTOR: Neil Jordan


RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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