A diverse set of characters find themselves together in a old diner in a small town on Christmas eve during a snow-storm. While a young expecting couple tries to make it home on a night that’s anything but silent.
Though Miracle on Highway 34 sounds like the more famous Miracle on 34th Street and it’s also a Christmastime movie, that’s where the similarities end. Nevertheless, this movie has a lot going for it, including a likeable cast that features relatable characters that go through very human tests and trials. Liz (Sharonne Lanier) is a diner waitress, still single, and is financially strapped due to medical bills from a serious ailment she previously encountered. But she’s a caring gal who is always ready with a smile, a listening ear, and a cup of coffee.
Truck driver Daniel (Dan Davidson) shows up and the viewer learns that he is estranged from his now-adult daughter. He can’t help but show her photo to Liz. He misses her but is unsure in how to rebuild their relationship. Soon after Daniel arrives, a young man named Kyle (Josh Murray) shows up. He is doing well for himself, selling pharmaceutical supplies, and is on the road a lot. But he really wanted to be a doctor but gave it up after a lawsuit over something that wasn’t his fault.
It’s Christmas Eve and certainly almost everyone will relate to at least one of the affable characters in this movie. For instance, young Nick is a cook and loves to talk about movies and read comic books. Sheila is the owner of the diner and she is about to head home to an empty house. Her husband of 33 years, Craig, has passed, and it will be a lonely evening for her.
On the way to the diner, although they don’t realize it at first, is a couple, Jonathan and Maia, and Maia is carrying their first child and very close to delivering it. They hope to make it to the town where Jonathan grew up, but a blizzard mixed with a baby’s demand to be born will make sure they wind up at the diner too.
It seems that Jonathan and Maia, searching for and not finding an open motel, are supposed to reflect the first Christmas when Joseph and Mary could not find room at any Inn. But just as they experienced a miracle, and the birth of the Lord Jesus, there will be a few miracles happening at this diner, which is located in the middle of nowhere.
All of the stories come together nicely, in a way that reminded me of the film, Do You Believe? In that particular film, all of the stories came together on the bridge following an accident. The diner is the focal point in this movie.
Director Nathan Clarkson, who also plays Jonathan in the film, weaves an engaging and very human story. I was drawn into the story and enjoyed watching the amiable characters. The film opens with a nice guitar instrumental and scenes of Christmas lights and the lights of a city which shine brighter with nightfall. The film makes it clear that Daniel takes a liking to Liz, and Liz to him. Liz gets Kyle to open up about how his dream of being a doctor was cast aside, and when Jonathan and Maia show up needing a doctor, well it seems that destiny is dealing the cards as Kyle soon finds himself practicing medicine in an emergency delivery of a child.
It’s the moments of humanity that enables this film to work so well. In one scene, Nick tells Liz that there is a new science fiction epic in theaters called Space Wars and, to her amusement, that she could be a captain like a captain in the movie. And he promises to keep her safe “if any bad guys come in!” And yet, despite this scene and a few other humorous moments, and a moment when a husband and wife lovingly kiss, it is the theme of loneliness that many people will relate to. People are sometimes alone during the holidays or have no one special in their lives. This movie does a remarkable job in showing that caring people do exist and that God’s miracles are still available, especially when we need them the most.
The content is wholesome and although we heartily award the film our Dove-approved seal for All Ages, it is more suited for older kids and not the very young.
The Dove Take:
This is an enjoyable movie to watch which offers hope to those who are struggling in life and the agreeable cast makes it even more a delight.