Coming exclusively to PureFlix on March 31st, Miracle at Manchester, based on the true story of Brycen Newman, both inspires and offers a glimpse of what can happen when people of faith gather to pray. The "Manchester" refers to Manchester sports field where Brycen's classmates gathered to pray over him.
Early on in the film, the audience gets the idea that this is going to be one of those stories where a group of seemingly disconnected characters end up coming together in surprising but wonderful ways.
Brycen (Kory Getman) plays both baseball and football at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. When he starts suffering from headaches and then blacking out, doctors chalk it up to dehydration. Giving Bryce, as his friends called him, fluids didn't solve the problem.
Further tests show that Bryce has a cancerous brain tumor and he undergoes surgery.
In the meantime, Ed (Daniel Roebuck) occupies his time by fixing veterans cars for free. Marilyn (Kathy Patterson), Ed's wife, worries that he's not taking care of himself. When a buddy calls him offering him a beat up Mustang from his junkyard, Ed takes it off his hands. He explains to Marilyn that when he was in the military, if you didn't have a wife and kids to think about, a dream car often kept you going. The Mustang was Ed's dream car.
Daniel Roebuck as Ed in "Miracle at Manchester." © 2023 JC Films. All Rights Reserved.
When Brycen's tumor returns, dealing with his illness becomes a journey for his family and friends. You know that the father/son motif takes center stage when the camera keeps returning to a statue of St. Joseph holding Jesus.
Then there's Miles, (Nick Avila) a local journalist who seems to be short on faith. He's interested in writing a story about Ed's generosity but Ed just wants to help the veterans and not toot his own horn. The story he ends up with is one he never imagined.
Miracle at Manchester is a film about faith and the power of surrender to God's will. When the reports from the doctors have little good news in them, it's Bryce who comforts his Dad, Richard (Eddie Mcclintock), telling him, "We can't. God can, right?"
Eddie McClintock as Richard in "Miracle at Manchester." © 2023 JC Films. All Rights Reserved.
What impresses me about the story is Brycen's good spirits and generosity even as he faces setback after setback. He's helped along by his friends, too. At one point, the whole football team shaves their heads in solidarity with their teammate going through chemotherapy.
The other thing is that this true story shows that not all teenagers reject the faith of their parents. In the film, the teens at Cathedral Catholic are shown to be people of faith, turning to God in prayer in times of suffering and trial.
Kory Getman as Brycen in "Miracle at Manchester." © 2023 JC Films. All Rights Reserved.
Bryce asks his Dad: "Dad, are you mad at God? Don't you think he has a plan?" There are questions we all ask in times of suffering. Let this story strengthen your faith that God is with you always, but especially in times of trial.
Miracle at Manchester debuts on PureFlix on March 31st. For more information visit the film's website here.