By Gary J. Groman, Editor
The Branson Courier
“Manna From Heaven” is a well told and entertaining comedic fable about the day money “fell” from the sky and how it impacted the lives of those it fell upon. But it is much more than that, it is a story of personal relationships and interactions involving some of funniest and most entertaining characters you will ever meet, human goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and, most of all, the miraculous wonder of dreaming and achieving those dreams.
Theatre goers will not want to miss the first fifteen minutes of this picture because it gives an initial glimpse of the characters’ desires before the money enters their life and the analysis and rationalizations they used to keep that to which they knew they were not entitled. This initial glimpse provides the perspective for the bulk of the movie, occurring decades later, when it is laid upon their consciences to repay the money.
It is, at “one time,” a story of greed and generosity, the worst and best in “people,” and of a family divided that unites and comes together as they work toward a common goal of righting a wrong. A “saintly nun,” haunted by the advice she gave decades earlier, an invalid “mother who dares to dream, a loveable conniving scamming rascal who might sell his whole family out for a buck, the long ago promised “Dancing Championship,” and “Two Digit Doyle” the resident of a Convalescent Home provide the central themes around which this very funny, entertaining, and uplifting movie revolves.
“Manna from Heaven” stars three Academy Award winners, Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman, and Louise Fletcher and features Jill Eikenberry and an outstanding supporting cast. Wendie Malick, as Inez and Frank Gorshin, as the loveable conniving, Ed Burns, provide enough comedic entertainment for two movies and were outstanding. Ursula Burton, in the starring role of Sister Theresa, does a great job of providing the “saintliness” and pure “drama” around which the rest of the characters and plot pivot. Cloris Leachman, playing the roll of Helen, plays a great role going from an invalid who was “almost dead,” to a “vital, energetic, and definitely live woman” by overcoming her fear to dream and working to achieve them.
Oh yes, this is a “feel good movie” with an obvious ending. Or, is it so obvious? One of the really neat things about “Manna From Heaven,” is that, although the “end result” is obvious, the way in which it is achieved is not. You will walk out of the theatre not only entertained and “feeling good” but daring to dream and believing that you can achieve what you dream if you want to bad enough.
“Manna From Heaven” held its World Premiere in Branson Missouri and is currently playing at the Branson Meadows Cinema at the Branson Meadows Mall.