The Miracle Maker (2000 film)

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The Miracle Maker
Directed by Derek W. Hayes
Stanislav Sokolov
Produced by Naomi Jones
Renat Zinnurov
Written by Murray Watts
Starring The voices of:
Ralph Fiennes
Julie Christie
Richard E. Grant
Ian Holm
Michael Bryant
Emily Mortimer
Alfred Molina
Music by Anne Dudley
Distributed by Icon Film Distribution (UK)
Release dates
  • 31 March 2000 (2000-03-31)
Running time
90 min
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English

The Miracle Maker is a stop motion-animated film about the life of Jesus Christ, through the eyes of Tamar; the terminally ill daughter of a priest in Capernaum. Hand-drawn animated cartoons are used to distinguish flashbacks, parables, stories, spiritual encounters and visions from the main plot, which is all in stop motion. (The daughter of Jairus is not named in the New Testament.)

The film was directed by Derek Hayes and Stanislav Sokolov. It stars the voice of Ralph Fiennes as Jesus, and numerous other well-known actors.

The film ends with Anne Dudley's "Pie Jesu" for solo boy soprano and orchestra.


Jesus leaves home and prepares to start 'His Father's Work'[edit]

The film opens in ‘Sepphoris, Upper Galilee, Year 90 of the Roman Occupation.’ Where Jairus and Tamar are travelling to meet their friend Cleopas, who knows a doctor that may be able to help Tamar. However the doctor is only able to give painkillers, confirming that there is nothing else that can be done. While Jairus is with the doctor, Tamar witnesses one of the carpenters building a new synagogue, who is Jesus, protect a deranged woman, Mary Magdalene, from being attacked by the townspeople. Jesus leaves his job, and goes to visit his mother, Mary. While there, Mary recalls his birth, the visit of the Wise Men, and how when Jesus went missing during Passover as a teenager, he was found conferring with the elders at the Temple who were amazed at his understanding of the scriptures. After leaving his mother's house, Jesus travels to the Jordan River to be baptised by John the Baptist. When John baptises Jesus, a voice from Heaven declares, "This is my beloved son," and the Holy Spirit descends on him as a dove. After his baptism, Jesus wanders out into the wilderness for forty days and nights to be tempted by the devil. After Jesus leaves the wilderness, he is met by his friend Lazarus, and goes back with him to his home in Bethany, where he is hosted by Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary.

Jesus begins his Ministry in Galilee[edit]

Jesus begins preaching parts of the Sermon on the Mount in the fields near Capernaum. Tamar and her mother Rachel are also in the field and Tamar stops to listen. He tells the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders. Many priests are also listening and debating on the legitimacy of Jesus and his teachings. Tamar is taken ill and her mother takes her away even though she wants to stay and listen. Judas and other zealots, including Barabbas are plotting an uprising against the Romans in a cave. Judas thinks Jesus is the Messiah come to deliver them from the Romans, and that the people will follow him to a glorious victory. He leaves the other zealots to follow Jesus, who scorn him and thinks he’s following dreams.
In a quayside, Mary Magdalene is being harassed by the tax collector, Matthew, for not paying the tax to cross the border from Judea into Herod’s Kingdom. Four fishermen, Simon, Andrew, James and John also confront Matthew, angry at having to pay taxes when they haven’t made any money. Jesus arrives at the quayside which excites Andrew but Simon is sceptical. Jesus commandeers Simon and Andrew’s boat to preach to the following crowd from the water. He tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed. After the crowds have gone Jesus bids the fisherman throw out their nets, and there is the miracle of draught of fishes. After Simon recognises Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus says he will make him a fisher of men.

Jesus teaches, performs miracles and upsets the authorities[edit]

Simon the Pharisee, an elder of the Capernaum Synagogue, is visited by Ben Azra, one of the Temple priests, worrying about the possibility of Jesus causing a revolt. He says Jesus is more dangerous than John the Baptist and hints that John has already been ‘dealt with’. Nearby Tamar is resting on a balcony, and is watching lots of people swarming round a house where Jesus is. Simon the Pharisee and Ben Azra join the crowds to listen to Jesus. In the crowd some men have a paralytic man on a stretcher. Jesus tells the story of the men with wood in their eyes, forgives the sins of the paralytic man, and heals him. Tamar and her family watch the healed man dance through the streets, and that night, Jesus encounters Mary Magdalene on a rubbish tip outside the town and casts the demons out of her. The next day Jesus chooses his apostles, changes Simon’s name to Peter, and Rachel pleads with Jairus to take Tamar to Jesus as she is dying. Ben Azra, Simon the Pharisee, Cleopas, and Jairus decide to invite Jesus and his disciples to their house and question him. Mary Magdalene enters and washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Jesus tells her her sins are forgiven, and because of this Ben Azra and Simon the Pharisee condemn Jesus as being in league with the Devil, though Cleopas and Jairus are unconvinced.
Tamar is dying and begs Jairus to go Jesus. He does, and as he brings Jesus to the house a woman with internal bleeding is cured. However before they arrive, servants come to tell Jairus that Tamar is dead. However Jesus goes and raises Tamar, who awakes, fully healed. Jairus, Rachel, Cleopas and Tamar join Jesus’ followers. Jesus learns that King Herod has killed John the Baptist and mourns for him, and Ben Azra and his companion have a meeting with Herod about Jesus.

Jesus goes to Jerusalem[edit]

Jesus and all his followers begin to make the journey from Capernaum to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Meanwhile, Pilate and his Centurion prepare for an influx of pilgrims in Jerusalem, and talks about the suppression of an uprising and the capture of Judas’ friend Barabbas. Jesus teaches his followers on the road and tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A rider comes to Jesus and tells him his friend Lazarus is dying, and begs him to come, he does not go immediately, for which Tamar reproaches him. Ben Azra rushes to Caiaphas to tell of the Resurrection of Lazarus. The High Priest does not share his companions' fear, reasoning that if Jesus is allowed to be sacrificed for the greater good, then Caesar's anger against the Jews will disappear.
Jesus has his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Judas begins to become disillusioned, as the sight of Jesus on a donkey and people singing and waving palm branches does not fit with his idea of a conquering army. Jesus and his disciples go to the Temple. The temple priests begin to plot to subdue Jesus, while Jesus proclaims the Temple to be a house of prayer and turns the tables of the traders in the Temple. The elders try to trick Jesus again, but Jesus says people should ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God!’. When Judas sees this and Barabbas in prison, and hears Jesus say that he [Jesus] will die, Judas despairs and resolves to betray Jesus to save himself. He goes and offers his services to Ben Azra, who is looking for a way to find Jesus away from the crowds.

Jesus is condemned and crucified[edit]

Jesus and his followers eat The Last Supper in secret, and tells his disciples they will abandon him. Judas slips out to lead the authorities to Jesus. When they have finished they gather around fires outside. Cleopas and Jairus entreat Jesus to explain all that they don’t understand, to which Jesus says, “not now, but soon.” He takes Peter, James and John to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsename where he prays and is tempted by the devil to flee. Judas returns and betrays Jesus, who is arrested by the Temple Guard. The disciples flee. Jesus is tried by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, who send him to Pilate. Despite having an intense dislike for the Jews, Pilate finds no case against him and sends him to Herod. Herod mocks him and sends him back to Pilate. Judas is overwhelmed with guilt and tries to appeal to Ben Azra. Ben Azra gathers a crowd and instructs them to call for the crucifixion of Jesus, and the release of Barabbas. Caiaphas blackmails Pilate into condemning Jesus to death. Jairus learns what has happenend and Jesus’s followers run into Jerusalem. Jesus is led up to Golgotha and crucified as they watch and cry. As Jesus dies, the sky goes dark and he proclaims ‘It is finished’. The curtain in the temple that separates the holy of holies from the rest of the temple is torn in two.

Jesus rises from the Dead[edit]

The disciples bury him and mourn for him. Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb the next morning, and finds his body is gone. She encounters him in the garden and goes to tell the other disciples in the house where they are hiding, who believe she is mad. Peter goes to the tomb and also encounters him. He goes back to the house. Thomas is sceptical, and as he leaves he encounters Cleopas and Jairus, who tell of the Road to Emmaus appearance. Thomas is pronouncing them all crazy when Jesus appears in their midst. He then appears among all his followers on the mount, to give The Great Commission, and then ascends into heaven. A child searching for him is told by Tamar that the Kingdom of God has come, and that Jesus will be with them forever.


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