Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

The world premiere of A Gift of Miracles airs tonight (2/15) @ 9:00 PM (ET) on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.The uplifting film stars Rachel Boston (Lifetime’s Witches of East End), Jesse Moss (Hallmark’s Channel’s Cedar Cove) and acting legend Rita Moreno.  My mini-review of the film followed by a conversation with Rachel Boston follows the trailer.

Synopsis (from the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries website): A pragmatic PhD candidate (Rachel Boston) must let go of her logic when she finds a list of items to give away written by the late mother she never knew. With the encouragement of her enthusiastic new mentor (Jesse Moss), she attempts to return everything on the list and begins to encounter unexplainable coincidences that lead her to understand the world’s smallest marvels have the greatest meaning.

Mini-Review: In A Gift Miracles, writer Bart Fisher does a solid job incorporating some wise insights on how to live life into a well-crafted teleplay with some good twists and interesting, likable characters. Among the practical thoughts on life put forth in Fisher’s script are: If you express what you love with passion others will follow; Sometimes the most beautiful flowers will take extra time to bloom; It’s important to face that fear that is keeping you from your true path; Perseverance in the face of discouragement is important in reaching positive goals; Left-brained (organized and logical) and right-brained (intuitive and creative) people balance each other; Don’t cling to anger — toward others or yourself; Giving and accepting forgiveness frees all of us.

While A Gift of Miracles may be a bit New Age-y for some — with God going by aliases like The Universe or Life — the ideas expressed, I think, mesh will with traditional faith values.  Add to that engaging performances by Rachel Boston (as PhD student Darcy Miller), Jesse Moss (as Nathan, her writing mentor), Andrew Airlee (as Darcy’s father) and Rita Moreno (in a key role as a woman whose story intertwines with Darcy’s in a surprising way) and you have a pretty decent way to spend  a couple of hours unwinding on a Sunday night.

A Gift of Miracles is Recommended.

A Conversation with Rachel Boston

JWK: So, what attracted you to “A Gift of Miracles” and what do you hope audiences take from the film?

RACHEL BOSTON: I was drawn to the story of awakening. To tell the story of a woman who had built walls around her heart and through a series of events, starts to awaken to the miracles around her.  The message is to always hold onto hope and miracles happen everyday. 

JWK: What was it like working with Rita Moreno?

RACHEL BOSTON: So wonderful. She’s such a positive person and very bright spirit. She’s been through so much and is filled with joy. Truly inspiring and resilient and we had a lot of fun on set. 

JWK: With Witches of East End ending its run, any chance we’ll be seeing your characters give more gifts away? And would you like to do another series?

RB:  I would love to do another TV series. I really enjoy working in television and the evolution of a character over time. In film and theater, you know the story and the journey from beginning to end but with TV, you can keep peeling away layers and exploring a new world each week. That was certainly the experience on Witches and that’s what I hope to find on the next series as well. 

JWK: In general, what do you look for when choosing which scripts to say “yes” to?

RB: It starts with an emotional connection for me. A story and character that gets inside my heart and asks me look at the world in a different way.  When I read A Gift of Miracles for the first time, it made me cry and then I read it three more times in the next two days. Something was pulling me towards this story. Scheduling wise it was challenging because I was filming Witches of East End and started pre-production three days later but I was so happy that we made it work.

JWK: When did you know you wanted to be an actress and what’s the best advice you  received?

RB: I told my parents I wanted to move to New York City and be an actress when I was around  seven or eight. I started singing in the church choir and loved performing. The best advice I ever received was on the set of American Dreams from Virginia Madsen who is now a dear friend. I asked her what she did when she got nervous and she said, “Just feel your feet.”  That’s helped me in many situations. Just stay grounded and stay present. 

JWK: You executive produced and starred in the film Black Marigolds. Any plans to do more producing or, perhaps, directing?

RB: I am looking forward to getting more involved with producing. Working on script development, casting, editing, and music is incredibly inspiring to me, and it’s wonderful to see something you love come to life. And with independent films, like Black Marigolds or The Pill, which we shot in NYC, you create something right from the heart. The crews are much smaller so it turns into this creative little family and everyone gives all they have. True labors of love.  

JWK: What’s next?

RB: There are so many stories I want to tell!  Right now I am looking for an inspiring TV series and also working on development with the executive producer of A Gift of Miracles on a new film so hopefully we will be making that very soon!

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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