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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A Film That Needs To Be Seen By More People

Author: mhberest@hotmail.com from Central California
24 January 2005

"Miracle Run" is not the first film to take on the subject of autism, but it is likely the most affirmative, and that is something significant.

I, myself, have Asperger's Syndrome, which puts me on the autistic spectrum, something I didn't know the first time I saw this film. Yet, even on the first viewing, something that caught my attention was the scene where the young Steven Morgan is transfixed by an air conditioner vent on the ceiling as he is being interviewed by a psychiatrist. This is exactly something that happened to me when I was a few years older than Steven was.

I bring this up because I feel autism and autistic spectrum orientations are far more common than thought, and I have a feeling many people watching this film have more in common with the Morgans than they think they do. Because of this, the film has tremendous importance. The Morgan twins, who were branded as hopeless when children, and castigated in High School as "retards" for their manner of speech and movement, neither were, nor are, hopeless or mentally challenged. They simply think and learn differently.

The film somewhat makes these points. Somewhere in Corinne Morgan's struggle to get appropriate education for her sons is the message that our educational system is geared only for those capable of learning in traditional ways. The film does say that once the boys have been taught in a way that connects with their learning styles, they are fully functional and able to not only be but excel in High School.

"Miracle Run" does make note of the remarkable abilities of its protagonists, something alluded to at the very beginning by Phillip watching a Superman cartoon. Indeed, even before the running gag begins about the Morgans joining every club requiring intellectual or physical skills in High School, there are vague suggestions of the remarkable minds of these two. This is especially so in one scene where the young Steven puts his hands on either side of the face of his new babysitter, as if he is taking the measure of her as a person.

The question remains, however, is what is the film's attitude toward autism, itself? Undoubtedly, this film very strongly asserts that autistic children have the right to everything neurotically children have. It also makes the argument that autistic children can display incredible abilities such as Phillip's guitar playing, Steven's prowess at cross-country, and both brothers' skills at chess, astronomy, geography, etc. etc.

But at the very end it notes the foundation Corinne Morgan founded, Miracle Run, has as its goal finding a _cure_ for autism. Obviously, the situation Corinne finds herself in at the beginning of the film, with two low functioning children, no assistance from the educational system and indifference and fear from everyone else, is not a positive one, nor one we, as a society, should allow to be perpetuated.

Yet, does this film say autistic people should be cured of the remarkable capabilities they display? Hans Asperger, the pediatrician who discovered the syndrome I have, never viewed it as a negative. In the final analysis, "Miracle Run" seems to contradict everything else it seems to be saying.

If that is the final message of this film, however, it does not make it well, and perhaps, it is more obligatory than heartfelt. The film's final message seems to be more about the triumph of the Morgan twins and the "overcoming many obstacles" Steven speaks of in the speech he gives in the film's last scene.

Speaking about other pluses of this film, its central focus is Mary Louise Parker, who plays Corinne Morgan. Not unlike the way she plays Ruth Jamison in "Fried Green Tomatoes," Parker displays an inner radiant strength, endless determination, a sense of humor, and dominance without being overbearing. The actors who play the Morgan twins as teenagers also give riveting performances, particularly Zac Efron as Steven. Efron shows great presence and manages to portray a high functioning autistic without his acting becoming mechanical. Not only does he engage our sympathy, he has us rooting for him throughout the film, something that helps the film to work so well.

The film's music is also something that caught my attention. Every so often an otherworldly chromatic theme steps in that seems to represent the Morgans' qualities of being both different and transcendent. It underlines every moment of aspiration in the film for both brothers, and at the end, with Steven's amazing first race as a cross-country runner, it is transformed into music of exultation.

This is an amazing film.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

This movie was an inspiration to me!

10/10
Author: sancastil3
10 August 2004

As a parent of an autistic child, I was extremely impressed by all the actors who portrayed the autistic boys. They certainly had me convinced that they were autistic! They should win awards for their work! Some of their behaviors were very similar to my child's. Mary Louise Parker and Aidan Quinn were also amazing. I was very moved by the entire movie, and I cried a lot (which I knew I would), but I also felt very inspired. This movie confirmed what my husband and I already knew--that autism doesn't have to be a sentence and that these children have dreams that they CAN achieve. I know our child will! We feel very blessed! I'm ready to see it again!

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful performances in this true story

8/10
Author: Travis_Bickle01
24 July 2005

I've often seen movies made for TV, but most of the time, I prefer the ones which are quite famous and which have received Emmy's and Golden Globes. I've seen movies like "The Gathering Storm", "Door To Door" and "Live From Baghdad". I loved all of them. The reason I saw this very small TV-movie is because Mary-Louise Parker was starring in it. I became a huge fan of her after seeing her stunning performance in "Angels in America".

I wasn't disappointed after seeing "Miracle Run" either. Mary-Louise Parker, Aidan Quinn as well as the boys when the are teenagers gave excellent performances. The fact that it's based on a true story makes it even better. I always like seeing movies based on true stories, but they need to have a decent cast. I also believe these kind of movies are important to support and encourage people who are going through similar situations.

"Miracle Run" is absolutely worth watching because of the wonderful performances and the amazing story.

8/10

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

I am Proud to be a Special Education Teacher....

10/10
Author: Sandkitty from USA
9 August 2004

People often ask me why I became a Special Education Teacher. I became a SPED teacher to help kids that need my help more than anyone. I became a teacher because I know I make a difference. People often think that SPED means "retard" and means the kids are useless and stupid. They have not seen a child's face when they understand something they did not before. They have never felt happy with teary eyes because a child had a new world opened to them. They have never listened to a child's problems. They have never helped that child and helped them to feel loved and cared for. They have no idea the amazing feeling that I feel each and every day that I go to work. I am proud to be making a difference in the lives of children.

These boys and their mom are just so amazing. I commend them for their hard work. People with disabilities can do anything they put their minds to. This film deserves 4/4 ****/*****

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful, Inspiring and Truthful

10/10
Author: Kevinisha Gordon (bigchief0418) from New Orleans, Louisiana
9 August 2004

I love mostly all of Lifetime movies. But this one I'd have to say was my favorite. If there are other's out there going through the same situation I'd suggest you watch this movie and get inspired. Single mother Corrine Morgan finds out that her twin sons Phillip and Steven are autistic. Instead of her giving up on them and sending them to an institution, she chose to stick by their side and insist that they be taught in regular school. She was a very good and courageous mother, she didn't just have one autistic child she had two and you could just imagine how hard that would be to raise them. Later, she finds a love interest in the repair man Doug and they hit it off well, he kinda stepped in as a father figure towards Phillip and Steve. To me these twins were not your typical autistic kids. They may have been considered retarded, but inside those kids were smart in their own special way. But for the most part these kids were smart and talented, and had a wonderful and supportive mother behind them 100 percent. It teaches you that If you believe you can achieve and if you have someone in your life who is as supportive and loving as Corrine Morgan was you can achieve anything.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

TV movies...

8/10
Author: jpschapira from Argentina
26 October 2005

Here it says "Miracle run" but I saw a big "The unexpected journey" in white during the first frame of the film, over a black background. One way or the other, both titles fit perfectly for what the movie wants to declare, to teach or to show, I don't exactly know.

TV movies today, I believe, have an educational value. I'm not saying we've got to watch them like we watched that video that explained how we came into the world, so we can never forget it. I'm saying that if you've got the time, you should sit down and try to get something out of it.

Months ago I saw "She's too young", a solid movie about the life of teenagers in the States…The drugs, the sex, Aids, etc. It was strong, for sure, but it seemed true. In "Miracle run", as in the latter film and as in "Everyday people", you'll find real characters living real lives. Have I said this a million times? Yes; but this is TV movies' specialty today.

They manage to get a promising cast. Maybe some big stars, maybe some new talents…They make a mix. They pick a strong story, someone to write it and a gut with some experience to direct it. It sure won't seem the same as a movie we see each week in the movie theater, but the good thing is that it doesn't pretend to.

The cast of "Miracle run" is headed by the dazzling Mary-Louise Parker (40 and looking gorgeous; that's a woman I'd like to put my hands on), as Corrine, the mother of two autistic seven-year old boys; in a performance that assures television is her place for the rest of her years. All the doctors had been telling her the boys take more time to grow up, but they don't talk and don't read and…They are seven. These first events end up in a couple break-up and the beginning of a new life.

Eventually, with the help of a good old doctor, the kids will learn to read, to write, to talk, but will still feel disturbed in some occasions and their way of walking and expressing is not totally normal. However, they have a special intelligence, and if they don't acknowledge it, they'll be constantly driven by Stallone's triumph in "Rocky 3" (the second best movie of the anthology) to achieve their goals.

Steven is a sports fan. He likes to run, to compete… "Like Rocky", he says. He goes running everyday and the scenes are shot like something will happen to him soon, but nothing ever occurs. He joins the cross country team and trains for a big race, but has problems because he gets lost. The parental figure will fix it.

Phillip is more cultured; more artistic. He's always been quieter and has always listened to his brother. But he imitates, and he learns really fast. The first week he learns how to play chess, he beats the school's best player. He'll also develop great gifted musical abilities. The parental figure will generate this. The boys are played by two young actors, Zac Efron and Bubba Lewis respectively; and theirs are two promising interpretations. The first one did a TV show and is preparing a film; the second one hasn't worked since this film.

But who's the parental figure? Well, not the best looking man to occupy that role; but he's called Doug, and he solves Steven's loosing issue and gives Phillip his first guitar. The role was given to Aidan Quinn, and it's amazing how he can look like a finished man in "Songcatcher" (a film I never saw) then seem to be thirty in "Evelyn", and first look like a hippie and like a cleaned up mister here. Transformation, dedication.

Mike Maples' only screenplay covers all the aspects the film wants to deal with. The love relationship of one of the kids, the struggle of a single mother, the development of a relationship in your mid life, the rejection that exists because of the autism…His words and Gregg Champions' magic directing touch make this a totally watch able and fulfilling experience.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly so much better than I expected. The dedication of the cast is simply amazing

9/10
Author: Dragoneyed363 from United States
21 August 2010

I am not going to lie. I truthfully had no idea what Miracle Run was about, fully, and the only reason I had been wanting to watch it is because Zac Efron was in it, yes, that's the only reason; a bit ridiculous, but I usually just jump at any movie that has one of my favorite actor/actresses in it, or, in this case, an actor I find attractive. After seeing that it was a Lifetime original, my expectations were crushed and I immediately fell into dismay over what I was about to view.

My expectations rose just a little when the opening credits appeared. After seeing Mary-Louise Parker starred, I became delighted. I find her to be such an enjoyable actress and have loved her in everything I've seen her in. The first twenty minutes? I had become so interested that I didn't even have any idea of how interested I was. The storyline starts off incredibly with Mary-Louise Parker portraying Corrine Morgan-Thomas, beautifully I might add, discovering that her twin sons, Steven and Phillip, have autism.

The first half of the movie is about Corrine having to deal with her sons' autism and having to study up on how to better it in their lifestyle, which this half is what gets us concerned for the Thomas family and piqued to see what happens in the second half. The two child actors are not annoying in any way as you would think they would be, and they actually inspire sympathy for both of their characters and Parker's.

When the second half rolls around, I was not bored, I did not think the film was spiraling away from the brilliance it started off with, but it indeed perfected the story and made the characters and our entertainment rise to the highest level this film could achieve. The actors' portrayal of the Thomas twins are so lovable that you wish you could hug them and never let go, and even the supporting actors help the story click and build to where by the end of the film you are left with a comforting warmth and sensitivity.

This movie would have not been as fantastic as it was if it wasn't for the fantastic performances. Otherwise, it would have been another run-of-the-mill Lifetime failure that didn't inspire or persevere anyone into thinking of it so highly. The cast makes the script heartwarming and touching in the utmost sense, and I feel like this is an underrated film, suppressed by the LMN label. I recommend this for anyone. It's incredibly wonderful all the way through, and I certainly did not expect it to be. Job very well done with the subject matter and film itself.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

There is only one word to sum up this movie "Great!!!!"

10/10
Author: dow2114 (dow2114@aol.com) from St.Joseph, Michigan
15 August 2004

Mary Louis Parker, Aidan Quinn, Zac Efron and Thomas Lewis (not to mention the rest of the cast) as at best "Grand" in their performances. The boys (Zac and Thomas) had me believing that they did have autism. Just a "Great All Around Family Movie". This movie also brings to light about our system of schooling. Not all children are on the same level as others (even though they are the same age). I know we put them in special classrooms but is this enough? Thank You Lifetime for bringing us such great entertainment. Let it be noted that this could possibly be a mini-series or even at TV series.

I have a little confession to make" My eyes did water up a little.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Miracle Run and Old Clichés...Yet it Still Works ***1/2

9/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
24 May 2006

Mrs. Morgan loses the man in her life when her twin boys are diagnosed with autism. He just can't handle this and has her leave home with the boys. Officials want them institutionalized, but Corrine, played excellently by Mary Louise Parker, has other ideas. She fights the system all the way to secure an education for the boys.

Parker conveys a level headed woman's frustration in fighting the system. Her performance is believable.

When the school district is forced to act, a special education tutor is provided. While he works wonders with the boys,funding to pay him dries up. He has taught Corrine how to deal with her sons and miraculously, by the next scene, several years has passed and the boys are teenagers pursuing the guitar, running, geography, astronomy and other activities. How they achieve so rapidly is conveniently omitted. With this omission, the film does not fail as it is inspiring and faithful to the human spirit.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An AMAZING movie!!!

10/10
Author: CrimsonDusk1624 from United States
8 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is amazing...I watched it and cried my eyes out! It is so good! The scenes where Mary-Louise Parker is sitting there eating pizza with the boys and Steven finally talks and says pizza...I lost it...it was so sweet! Zac Efron did an AMAZING job as Steven! He really is a very talented actor...he goes all out...and he is so cute! This movie is AMAZING!!! I really can't say it enough! More people should see this movie!!! Aidan Quinn also did an awesome job playing Doug! He was so sweet and cute with the boys! It is such an inspirational story! The family worked so hard to make it through their lives and they made it! Corrine did everything for her sons...she did more than a lot of mothers could handle, but she did it...and she did it no matter what! She's a lot like my mother...she would do anything for her kids! This movie really is a MUST see!

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