Expecting a Miracle (2009)

Jason Priestley and Teri Polo in Expecting a Miracle (2009)

The Dommatina Miracle

"Expecting a Miracle" is one of those movies which is not so much about what happens or who stars in it but how it makes you feel, that warm feeling of wholesomeness and simple honest charm. As such whilst "Expecting a Miracle" stars Jason Priestley, Teri Polo and Cheech Marin and features a storyline about a couple whose relationship is at breaking point under the disappointment of being unable to have children neither of these are really that important. In fact once you have the set up of Pete and Donna not only unable to have children but becoming stuck in a small Mexican town where the locals believe in miracles you can guess the outcome. But it still works because whilst not real life, people are far too nice or in some cases too cynical it fills you with a warm fuzzy feeling and makes you think that maybe we do make life harder than it really is.

Having learned that their latest course of IVF treatment has failed Pete (Jason Priestley - Tombstone) and Donna Stanhope's (Teri Polo - Meet the Fockers) marriage begins to break down due to the disappointment of knowing they can't have children. With his work suffering Pete's boss orders him to take Donna away for a week down to his time share in Mexico but along the way their jeep breaks down leaving them stranded in the small Mexican village of Dommatina where the mechanic can't get parts for a few days. But whilst their Pete gets to know a young boy called Pepillo (Kevin Hernandez) who despite having a disability lives life to the full whilst Donna also meets people and it starts to change both of their outlooks on life.

Kevin Hernandez as Pepillo Salazar in Expecting a Miracle (2009)

So as already mentioned "Expecting a Miracle" is a movie about Pete and Donna whose marriage has hit the rocks because both desperately want to have children but it seems that they can't. What follows is basically both routine and predictable as they decide to have time away in Mexico only to end up breaking down on the way to their time share. From their jeep being towed in by a couple of horses to the town's mechanic not able to get parts for a few days this is all very cliche. And so is the fact that in this town where life is simple and happy the unhappy Pete and Donna slowly resolve their issues before we get a less than surprising ending.

But whilst the initial vehicle for "Expecting a Miracle" is the story of Pete and Donna it merges with one of a young boy called Pepillo who has a damaged leg and believes that when he flies in the local fiesta a miracle will happen and his disability will be cured. At this point if you don't already know "Expecting a Miracle" is a "Faith & Family" movie and we do have a storyline driven both by belief and miracles and as such if you are not into faith what you watch you will probably mock. But then this simple story of Pepillo combines with that of Pete and Donna as well as all the people they meet in the village of Dommatina to paint a charming, uplifting movie. It does deliver both a warm fuzzy feeling but also at the same time makes us consider if we make life harder for our selves than it has to be, over thinking things when you just have to accept certain things.

As such whilst "Expecting a Miracle" stars Jason Priestley, Teri Polo and Cheech Marin it is really not a movie about them or their characters but the overall feeling. Having said that Priestley, Polo and Marin all do a nice job, maybe overacting every now and then but get things for the most right. But they are all out shone by Kevin Hernandez who plays young Pepillo because not only does he deliver the enthusiasm and energy of a young boy but in the scene where he talks about his late mother you genuinely feel the emotion.

What this all boils down to is that "Expecting a Miracle" is a movie which is both obvious and routine but in many ways it doesn't matter because it is how it makes you feel which is important.