The Miracle Maker is an animated film produced for the Jubilee Year 2000 which tells the story of Jesus. It generally uses the gospel of Luke as the source for its narrative – but it hangs loosely to the source, and treats it somewhat creatively. This is most noticeable in its development of the character of Tamar, the daughter of Jairus. It’s easily available from most DVD stores, or of course from Amazon. or Play.
It was well-received by faith communities: A pretty typical review follows:
In The Miracle Maker, the film’s makers have a small miracle of their own: a simple, modest retelling of the gospel story of the ministry and passion of Christ that does little more than present the bare events of the gospel narratives, without adornment or invention, without idiosyncratic “explanations” or editorial spin, without elaborations for the sake of amusement or excitement.
It’s so straightforward, it’s practically revolutionary. Adapting a story for the screen substantially as it was written is a lost art nowadays. It’s easy to see why, in a way; storytellers are just naturally attracted to projects to which they feel they have some creative contribution to make; some special angle or insight to offer.
You might wonder about the claim that there is little adornment or invention – remember Tamar – but she operates more as a narrative device to help the viewer engage with the story of Jesus than a distraction or dumbing down.
The Miracle Worker is a rather beautiful creation – most of the narrative shown through stop-go animation; but others through painted cell work. And it is an engaging presentation – with much of the credit for this going to the somewhat stellar cast, led by Ralph Fiennes as Jesus.
We’ve been using it in our parish over the past weeks – a ten minute section as a time, as a way of familiarising the group with the outline of the story of Jesus, and as a ‘safe’ way of giving them matter for discussion reflection. Last year we had a very quiet group who rather resisted discussion. It’s a different group this year but there’s much discussion and I think the film is to credit for that.<
I’d recommend the film as a most useful aid for first evangelisation, for the pre-catechumenal time. And I am happy to share below the discussion sheets we used to to give you an indication of the sort of conversation starters we’ve used.