Just Another Ordinary TV Movie
As TV movies go "Ordinary Miracles" is a prime example of what is both good and bad about them. The storyline which sees a Judge take in a troubled young girl is full of charm as they end up helping each other and has a pleasant feel good message about it. But it is overly sweet, very obvious and suffers from a script which works through the basics but never really delves beneath the surface level of the story or characters. As such whilst "Ordinary Miracles" is entertaining and a pleasant movie it's also pretty forgettable, the sort of movie you watch to pass some time or have on in the background whilst doing something else.
When Judge Kay Woodbury (Jaclyn Smith - Kaleidoscope) finds herself forced to place troubled foster child Sally (Lyndsy Fonseca - Hot Tub Time Machine) in a Juvenile Correctional Facility because there is no one else to take her she finds herself doing the unthinkable and taking her in herself. Despite being a solitary woman Kay bonds with Sally and is determined to help her, not only by discovering out why she is so troubled but why she ended up in Foster care in the first place. But it is not just Sally who is getting the help because being around Sally brings out a different side to the workaholic Kay.
Part of the trouble with "Ordinary Miracles" is that whilst the story surrounding Kay taking Sally in has a charm about it, it is also for the most very obvious. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realise that the workaholic Kay will end up bonding with the rebellious Sally, learning to live life a bit more whilst giving Sally a chance brings out the best in her. As such it is no surprise that their time together isn't smooth, Sally goes off the rails a couple of times but begins to realise that Kay is there for her no matter what. It's the sort of feel good storyline you expect from this sort of TV movie and it delivers it perfectly.
Of course it's not that simple as this as well as Kay giving Sally a chance we also have her using her power as a Judge to dig around in her history to try and discover not only how she came to be in Foster care but also why she is so troubled. Both sides of this culminate in predictable ways with moments of drama and redemption for both Sally and Kay.
But the thing is that whilst pleasant and delivers that feel good ending that you know is coming long before it arrives, "Ordinary Miracles" far too often borders on the fake. In a perfect world it would be lovely to think that when Sally messes up Kay wouldn't give her a telling off but that isn't real life. And whilst it would be lovely if just by associating with better people Sally could change but that's not real life either. It makes "Ordinary Miracles" sadly that little bit cheesy, painting this picture of a perfect world rather than a real one.
Despite this "Ordinary Miracles" still works and despite some cheesy dialogue the performances work as well. Jaclyn Smith does a solid job of playing Judge Kay Woodbury, making her on one hand a workaholic who lives her life almost by the letter of the law yet adds colour to her by being conflicted firstly by not really having a life and secondly by having a feud with her father. But it is Lyndsy Fonseca as Sally who really stands out because she is the archetype troubled teen, you can see that deep down she has a good heart but hurt over being put into Foster care and being shipped from pillar to post has lead to her being protective and rebellious. In a way the character is a cliche but Fonseca brings her to life and allows us to warm to her, feel for her when she messes up.
What this all boils down to is that "Ordinary Miracles" is every ounce a TV movie with a feel good storyline which whilst entertaining is also quite forgettable. The storyline whilst obvious is charming and the performances add to that charm although that doesn't disguise the fact that it's not real and also quite forced.