Miracle in the Valley
Thirteen-year-old Melinda is angry about the hand life has dealt her. Born out of wedlock and scorned by many, she struggles to find out who she is in this world, to herself, her family and to God. Melinda desperately wants to know what happened to her real father. No one will tell her.
Alice, Melinda’s mother, feels that God has abandoned her because of her past decisions, so she now relies on superstitions to deal with her guilt and get her through the day. Maddox, Melinda’s stepfather, is the top employer in Anderson Valley. He lords his control over the small town of Boonville. The local pastor is the only person who doesn’t treat Melinda with disdain. But he is mysteriously killed and Melinda is left with no one to talk to.
Mary is Melinda’s ailing and sometimes delusional grandmother. Under much protest, Melinda is sent to take care of her. Mary shows Melinda the love and acceptance that the girl has never experienced. When Grandma Mary is delusional, she speaks in a long forgotten language of the valley called “Boontling.” With the discovery and understanding of Boontling, Melinda begins to learn about her father. Melinda is happy at her grandmother’s and never wants to return home. She enjoys the peace of no longer being under the heavy thumb of Maddox. But that comfort is soon ripped from her with Grandma Mary’s sudden passing.
Now determined to do all within her power to find her father, Melinda’s bravery compels some of the townspeople to reveal the dark secrets that they have kept for years. Her example gives them strength to bring the truth to light and ultimately to find forgiveness and redemption. Along with Boonville’s residents, Melinda learns that when you look for the truth, that’s where you’ll find grace.
Miracle in the Valley, originally known as Boonville Redemption, is exactly what the title proclaims: a miracle. For 13-year-old Melinda (Emily Hoffman), life is difficult as she wonders what happened to her real father, who hasn’t been seen in years. Her stepfather, Maddox, is a wealthy man and the number one employer in Anderson Valley in 1906, the year the story takes place. But he is a cruel man, unfaithful to Melinda’s mother Alice, and mean spirited to Melinda as well as others he comes in contact with. When Melinda is sent to help care for her ailing grandmother, she learns more about her father. In one funny scene, the doctor tells Mary, Melinda’s grandmother, that she is not nice and that there are no pills for that. Eventually Melinda returns home after her grandmother’s death.
Evidence mounts that a secret has been kept and that there is more to the story of Melinda’s father, Thomas, than meets the eye. He was accused of being a horse thief and sent away, but to this day Maddox is jealous of him. When a man named Jeb adopts William, a friend of Melinda’s, Jeb decides it is time to confront Maddox about the past. This confrontation leads to a showdown of sorts with a judge (Ed Asner) coming in to preside over the case. A few surprises are in store as Melinda and her mother finally learn what really happened to Thomas, and just what a true scoundrel Maddox is.
The film features Pat Boone as the local doctor, and he sings during the credits about old-time religion. The themes of the film include relying on the grace of God, and God’s forgiveness. We award the movie our Dove-Approved Seal for Ages 12+. Miracle in the Valley has a bad guy, a few good guys, some action, suspense, a faith-based theme, and a lot going for it.