review by Neo

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One of the most notable aspect of this Christian film is its good production values, adequate casting, a good morale story and also an adequate director. Directed by Adrian Kwan Sun-Fai, a relatively unknown director, Miracle Box is actually a miracle in many aspect, from being wide released in HK, screenings in various church groups around the world, to being a critically acclaimed film and the most difficult of all – Box office success. Starring non-bankable, though well-known TVB stars – Ada Choi and Tse Kwan Ho (TVB – Dream of Colours – 2004), from director to the editing room, no one would have even predicted that this movie will be one of the most profitable HK movie in 2004. Produced to a relatively low budget, Miracle Box made more than 6 million HK locally. So with all these comments, lead to the important question – Is Miracle Box a good film or just another badly acted Christian movie – trying to portray a profound life lesson?

The story goes like this A bio-pic about real-life doctor Joanna Tse Yuen-Man. During the 2003 SARS epidemic, Tse volunteered to work with SARS patient and, ultimately, died from the disease herself. (Official synopsis) Giving the best performance of her career, Joanna wanted nothing more than to become a physician. After she meets Albert, a cancer survivor and fellow doctor, her life changes. But their happiness was cut short, Albert's cancer has returned. He encourages his wife, Joanna, to carry on even as his body is slowly eaten away by this deadly disease. He believes that God placed her here for a reason and will eventually reveal his plans. After his passing, Joanna takes up his mettle and becomes a brilliant doctor. Her self-sacrifice became an inspiration to millions in the grip of a deadly epidemic...

As to the performances, it is hard to describe, as t can be rated to two different levels, but if you ask me to rate Ada Choi, certainly has come a long way from her Fist of Legend days. She puts in one of her better TVB performances, but her acting is still far from polish and in some scenes her acting seems more forced than natural. On a personal opinion, her smile is still a warming presence. In fact, as good as Christian movies goes, Ada is of the best. As to Tse Kwan Ho, who I just watched in the new TVB series – Dream of Colours, whose performance there is one of the highlight of the series, does not look as cool here than the series, but provides a rather natural performance and can be rated as pretty good in both levels – normal films and Christian films. Looking forward to see more of Tse Kwan Ho’s works, as he is actually quite promising.

Overall, Miracle Box is a movie that attempts to carry a life message and in fact a quite deep and profound one that it is not easy to summarise in a few words and the interpretation of the lessons leant will be entirely personally and based upon your own life experiences. If there is one criticism, the SARS scenes seemed to be rushed too quickly but novice director uses the show not tell principle adequate along with some visually imaginative scenery of the beautiful grassland. The ending was the redeeming factor for me and personally, I actually learned nothing new, but it was still an inspiration movie that will inspire me that there is always hope in life even in the bleakest of time. One of the best aspects of the movie is the meaningful use of the miracle box which is just a paper box, but it is a box that you can fill it with all your unhappiness and misfortune. For that very reason, after watching Miracle Box, which is not a perfect movie, but as far as Christian movie are concern, this is one of the best around. SO next time, if you are unhappy, remember to write down your feelings into the Miracle Box.

I rate it 8/10

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Product Title : Miracle Box
Artist Name(s) : Ada Choi | Tse Kwan Ho|
Language : Cantonese | Mandarin |
Duration : 94 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - June 2004