Scandinavian films about coming of age are known for their special twists in the storyline. And they come in wide variety – from serious to cute and entreating but perhaps a little bit weird. Mirakel is a Danish film released in 2000,which falls into the second category. The central character is a twelve-year-old boy Dennis P (Stefan Pagels Andersen) who has a bunch of issues.
Among those issues: school problems, he likes the same girls his best friend does, his dad is gone and, his biggest problem (or at least the one that is bugging him constantly) is that he is the only boy in his class who doesn’t have pubes …). One may recall the Swedish film Barnens ö in which Reine (the young protagonist in the film) has similar worries. Dennis even mentions his problem while he prays in church, quickly adding that he “knows that this doesn’t sound like a particularly big problem compared to what else is going on around the world.” But to him it means one hell of a lot.
Dennis is quite a resourceful fellow, even if he can often be found daydreaming (looking for a solution to his problems, maybe?). At times, the film feels as if one is watching a musical, as the fantasies Dennis slips into are always filled with music and dance. The mixture of reality and fantasy may remind some of another Danish film titled En som Hodder . A trend in the Danish cinema maybe?
Mirakel is an enjoyable film featuring a lot of musical scores – of all different genres. There are two songs, one rap and one cabaret style, in the first ten minutes of the film and many more before the final credits roll an hour later. There is an interesting idea in the film that will make most adult viewers hold their breath for a moment – the fact that both Dennis and his friends are quite liberal in their expressions (foul language, some swearing). While it’s nothing that one is unlikely to hear in a normal conversation of youngsters in the school yards or the streets, yet it takes a bit to realize that the language in the film has its special role. I imagine that if the film was produced in the United States it would have been severely censored, even if all the swearing in it isn’t offensive. The US censors would be unlikely to give it a higher rating than PG.
Desperate in his boyish problems, Dennis goes to a church and asks Gods for help. And then a miracle happens – every wish of his is granted, pending a promise he has to make to God’s messenger (an angel who looks a lot like his deceased father). A miracle – and everything is going to be just the way he wants, or is it? Or are there more adjustments to be made?
Mirakel has a nice cast, but a weird storyline. In fact, sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense at all. Teenagers and younger kids will enjoy it (that is if their parents allow them to see it due to the language in it), but most adults are likely to find it a bit lame – yet entertaining. My ratings tend to favor more realistic films than the abstract and the fantasy ones. Even if there are some exceptions like the excellent mixture of fantasy and reality in En som Hodder , Mirakel somehow failed to meet my expectations. But I could say the same for the British film Millions, and yet it has quite a significant fan base. Yet I could not bring myself to give it more than two stars.
Film title: Mirakel
Alternative titles: Miracle
Release data: 13 October 2000
Director: Natasha Arthy
Cast: Stefan Pagels Andersen, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Peter Frödin, Thomas Bo Larsen, Sebastian Jessen, Stephania Potalivo, Sevik Perl and others