The Healer (2016 film)

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The Healer
Film poster
Directed byPaco Arango
Written byPaco Arango
Produced byPaco Arango
Enrique Posner
Michael Volpe
StarringOliver Jackson-Cohen
Camilla Luddington
Kaitlyn Bernard
Jorge Garcia
Jonathan Pryce
CinematographyJavier Aguirresarobe
Edited byTeresa Font
Music byNathan Wang
Release date
  • September 16, 2016 (2016-09-16) (Atlantic)
Running time
113 minutes
United States
Box office$12.2 million

The Healer is a 2016 Spanish-Canadian-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Paco Arango and starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Camilla Luddington, Kaitlyn Bernard, Jorge Garcia and Jonathan Pryce.[1][2] The film, whose profits were pledged to Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Children's Network, was panned by critics, who acknowledged the altruistic intent was not matched by the quality of the film itself.[3]


Mechanical engineer Alec Bailey, struggling after his parents' and twin brother Charlie's deaths, sleeps around, gambles, has a failing television repair business called The Healer, and is drowning in debt. Suddenly, Alec's estranged uncle, Raymond Heacock, offers to pay his £88,000 debt in exchange for him moving to Nova Scotia, Canada, for a whole year. Although not thrilled, Russian debt collectors chase him into a church where the priest suggests this might be a second chance, so he accepts the offer.

Two days later, he moves to his Uncle Raymond's house near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. His first day in town, Alec meets Cecilia, who knows his uncle, and helps Alec place an ad in the local newspaper for work. His first days in town don't go well: meeting Father Malloy, he tells him he's Buddhist to avoid going to church; Officer Tom gives him a citation, making it clear he dislikes his uncle; and the newspaper ad, headed "The Healer", says he can fix anything. Suddenly, because of the ad, people start showing up at his house asking for miracles. Alec is frustrated at the confusion and at not getting any electrical business.

Needing money, Alec starts working with Cecilia, a veterinarian. Strangely, one by one, each of the people who came to him to be healed were actually getting cured, although he refused to see them and told them he was an engineer, not a doctor. The strangest incident came when Father Malloy had a heart attack and died in front of Alec, but minutes later came back to life. Officer Tom misunderstands the situation, arresting Alec for Father Malloy's murder, until Malloy calls to confirm he is in fact alive. Malloy then tells Alec he believes he has a God-given gift to heal people.

Alec is fed up with people thinking he can heal them and returns to his uncle's to pack. While doing so, he finds a key for the basement with a note. There, he finds pictures of his ancestors and an empty frame with his name. His uncle's note explains their family has a secret gift to heal that skips every other generation. Told he must accept the gift before midnight or he'll lose it forever, Alec feels overwhelmed. He is asked to explain his decision to the entire town and they are understanding, simply thanking him for the help he did give.

Although he didn't accept the gift, his uncle will pay his debt if Alec remains the whole year, so he stays. A few days later, a family from Fredericton, New Brunswick, arrives, begging him to heal their daughter Abigail of cancer. Alec explains he can't help, but agrees to spend the weekend with her, after she insists, for her parents' sake. Alec and Cecilia quickly bond with her. He also makes up with Officer Tom, who reveals that Abigail is his niece. After that weekend, Alec is particularly moved, as his twin Charlie had died of cancer. Going back to his uncle, he tells him he regrets not accepting the gift, then goes to church, angrily asking God for the gift back to save Abigail.

Some time later, Abigail tells Alec and Cecilia the cancer is in remission. Hearing the good news they kiss. As Alec has got the gift back, his uncle returns to England after they make up. The last scene is a shot of the basement, showing the framed and labeled 'Alec Bailey' portrait.

During the closing credits, scenes filmed at various of the global community of camps operated by the SeriousFun Children's Network are shown, with a dedication to founder Paul Newman.



The film has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[4] summarized by Michael Rechtshaffen of the Los Angeles Times as "although the cause may be noble, the end effect is decidedly less rewarding."[3]


  1. ^ Vlessing, Etan (13 May 2015). "Camilla Luddington, Jonathan Pryce Board Rom-Com 'The Healer'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  2. ^ Douglas, Esme (28 August 2018). "The Healer will donate all its proceeds to children's charities: Watch the exclusive clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Rechtshaffen, Michael (27 September 2018). "Review: 'The Healer' gives, but doesn't work". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ "The Healer". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

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