“The Maldonado Miracle,” reviewed by Jennifer Anne Messing.
Drama/Adventure. Rated PG. Recommended for family viewing, preferably with kids ages 10 and up. Check your favorite online and video rental stores or the public library for availability.
“The Maldonado Miracle” is a one hour, thirty-nine minute, 2003 Allegra Films Production movie release, in color, directed by Salma Hayek, starring Eddy Martin, Peter Fonda, Mare Winningham, and Ruben Blades. A strong supporting role is played by Soledad St. Hilaire. The film is based on the novel for young readers entitled, “The Maldonado Miracle,” written by the late North Carolina-born author, Theodore Taylor.
“The Maldonado Miracle” tells the story of a young boy, Jose Maldonado (Eddy Martin) who illegally crosses the border between Mexico and the United States in hopes of finding his father. Jose’s only companion is his dog, Sanchez.
Jose’s experiences once in the United States are both frightening and harrowing as he tries to work for a little bit of money here and there, feed both himself and Sanchez, and avoid getting caught by immigration officers. His travels soon bring him to a small, financially desperate town, San Ramos. On Jose’s first night in San Ramos, he secretly seeks shelter in the town’s church.
The next morning, a devout religious lady, Josephina (Soledad St. Hilaire), sees blood on the statue of Jesus while she is praying in the church where Jose spent the night. Immediately, Josephina screams, “Milagro! Milagro!”—the Spanish word for “miracle” and begins telling everyone in the town about what she has seen. The church’s priest, Father Russell (Peter Fonda), wants not to overreact but rather to investigate the matter further before declaring the event a miracle.
As news about the miracle quickly spreads through the town and even across the United States, Jose finds himself swept up in the middle of all the events. Soon, people from around the country, journalists and media people begin flocking to San Ramos to hear more about the miracle of the bleeding Jesus.
Meanwhile, Jose befriends Maisie (Mare Winningham), a restaurant owner who occasionally gives him little extras when he visits her café. Maisie’s café is also a center of activity in the town, where much gossip is exchanged daily. It isn’t long before a few key people in the town, including the sheriff, Father Russell, and Jose discover what really caused the bleeding miracle. Viewers will empathize with Father Russell, Jose and the other townspeople who know the real truth as they struggle to deal with the mysterious miracle and the enormous amount of media attention it has drawn.
One of the main themes “The Maldonado Miracle” deals with is faith. It raises this question: Do miracles produce faith, or does faith produce miracles? Though this movie is fictional and is not intended to be an accurate description of any specific religion’s teachings and practices, it does encourage the viewer reexamine his or her own personal faith and determine what constitutes a genuine modern-day miracle. “The Maldonado Miracle” gives insights into the various ways that different people respond to apparent miracles and also depicts the many problems and heartaches the townspeople of San Ramos were experiencing as well as why they were desperate for a miracle.
“The Maldonado Miracle” is a unique movie that cannot be put into a box. It prods one to examine his or her thoughts about illegal immigrants and the way they are treated. It may arouse compassion for the illegal immigrants whose poverty and unfortunate circumstances drive them to cross the border in hopes of finding a better life. Parents are advised there is one scene which is probably frightening for children aged seven and under. It occurs when Jose is hiding in an abandoned car.
All of the lead and supporting cast give excellent performances, especially young Eddy Martin, who plays Jose Maldonado. The musical score is creative and upbeat, or soulful at the appropriate moments. Viewers who enjoy “The Maldonado Miracle” may want to check their public library for other books for young readers written by Theodore Taylor.
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“The Maldonado Miracle” makes a great addition to your family movie collection!
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“The Maldonado Miracle” in DVD format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363. Portland residents can borrow the novel, “The Maldonado Miracle” by Theodore Taylor at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234.
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Author, poet, speaker and singer Jennifer Anne F. Messing of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Journalism and Short Story Writing. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 180 articles, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books including “The Christian Journal,” “Evangel,” “LIVE,” “Standard,” “Bible Advocate,” “Christian Fiction Online” and “Nudges from God.” Her poetry gift book, “MORNING’S PROMISE: Poetic Moments in His Presence” is now available in trade paperback. CLICK HERE TO ORDER, or find more information on her website: www.JenniferAnneMessing.com.
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