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While “The Healer” isn’t made to withstand scrutiny, it is an entertaining film to watch while in quarantine.
|Screenplay By||Paco Arango|
|Date Released (Netflix)||6/1/2020|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Family, Religious, Drama|
|Duration||1 Hour, 48 Minutes|
|Audience||Those Who Like Light-Hearted Drama
Enjoy Redemption Stories
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
In England, Alec has seemingly been a hot mess since his brother Charlie died. It could even be said, all Charlie built with Alec was dismantled by Alec’s recklessness. Which, at this point, has left him in debt financially and morally bankrupt.
However, then enters a man, uncle Raymond, who is willing to pay off Alec’s debt if Alec moves to Nova Scotia for a year. It’s a weird proposal, especially from a man Alec just met and never heard from or about all his life. But, with the mob chasing him and no means to pay them off in sight, what choice does he have?
Leading to Alec discovering why his uncle wanted him to head to Nova Scotia as well as the family secret.
Cast & Character Guide
Alec (Oliver Jackson-Cohen)
With a mechanical engineer degree, but terrible money management and a weak moral compass, Alec’s life was in a bit of a spiral. He lacked support, direction, and his brother who helped him start the “The Healer” business. Making the appearance of a unheard of uncle a blessing in disguise since Alec was very close to hitting rock bottom.
Raymond (Jonathan Pryce)
Raymond is Alec’s uncle, who comes off like an eccentric rich person. Which, in many ways, he is.
Cecilia (Camilla Luddington)
A veterinarian by trade and also Alec’s first friend as he takes up his uncle on moving across the Atlantic to get away from his troubles.
Abigail (Kaitlyn Bernard)
This 14-year-old firecracker has been fighting cancer for years and has seen what it is doing to her parents. So while she may not believe in healers or miracles, her time with Alec is all about trying to give her parents hope more than anything else.
Charles (Charlie Rhindress)
Alec’s brother who got terminal marshmallow (you have to see the film to get it)
For most of “The Healer,” as noted below, Alec doesn’t really encounter anyone remarkable, and even Alec himself seems like he came out of a run of the mill Hallmark movie. However, Abigail, with her sarcasm and having a more notable personality than most, she shakes things up. Now, we’re not saying Bernard’s performance saves the movie, by any means. It’s just, compared to everyone else, even if her character does seem like every other terminally ill teen character with a slight attitude, at least there is some oomph behind it.
On The Fence
Most Of The People Alec Encounters Aren’t Memorable
We’re typing this up a few hours separated from watching the film, and as we go over who was in it, honestly, it feels like so very few are worth mentioning. Yes, there are the mandatory characters like Alec and Raymond, even Cecilia. However, as for the townspeople? Not really. Most, if not all, are unremarkable, and while their issues are real, there is a slight comedic flair given to all of them which takes away from the seriousness of their situations.
Heck, even when it comes to Abigail having terminal cancer, as much as what she says paints the picture of desperate parents willing to try anything, the tone of the film doesn’t boost that. Thus leaving nearly every character too light-hearted to be taken seriously and approaching that line of seeming like a caricature.
The Unanswered Questions
Being that Raymond is just popping up now, after so many people in Alec’s immediate family died, there are questions posed. For example, why now? Well, there is an answer to that, but as for why he didn’t appear before that? No answer. Also, as for what was the issue Raymond and Alec’s mother had? No answer. What is it about this single town that allows Alec’s family some sort of powers? No answer. Why is it the sheriff of the town has such a huge issue with Raymond, which surely has to go beyond some crush some woman had? No answer.
Granted, most of those questions aren’t essential to the storyline, but with “The Healer” not overwhelming you with the number of good things there are to note, it makes these questions add up. Thus becoming a minor, but still very real problem.
Would Watch Again? – One and Done
Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
“The Healer” is a likable movie, which is entertaining but is also the kind of film that doesn’t do well if scrutinized. It’s something to watch when nothing else is on, or you don’t have a plethora of options. Hence the mixed label.
The Healer Ending Explained (Spoilers)
It isn’t clear why but, every other generation of Alec’s family, on his mother’s side, produces a male whose presence heals people. Now, as for what the generation in between does? Well, assuming they do well like Raymond, they live off the notoriety of those who came before and make something of themselves. But, as for Alec? With him flailing in England and approaching his 30th birthday, Raymond had no choice but to save him and hope he was the one.
Mind you, the film doesn’t go over whether Alec has cousins or anyone else who Raymond sought to be “The Healer.” So, consider this a lucky choice. One that, as you can imagine, is overwhelming to Alec, at first, since his presence reviving people or healing them is hard to grasp. Never mind, thanks to Cecilia, people in the town, and outside of it, are coming to him.
Which, at first, he rejects, and even does so formally in front of the town, at church. However, with meeting Abigail, he goes back to the church, yells at God to give him back his powers, and seems to now take them seriously. Oh, and he learns Cecilia, who claimed to be lesbian, lied, because Raymond painted Alec as a hoe, and they are together. Also, Abigail goes into remission, the Russians never come to town, and everyone is healed from those who stuttered to others who were suffering from hearing loss.
Considering Alec now embraces his powers, and likely is to gain a reputation, this could mean Mr. Misic, the Russian he owes, could discover where he is. Granted, Raymond could have paid them off, but who can be sure? He pretended to look up Alec’s debt when taking a picture, and we’re just led to assume he didn’t just whisk Alec away but also handled his issues. Also, who is to say Mr. Misic may not try to blackmail Alec, hold his past over him, whether or not Raymond did pay him off?
And on the topic of Raymond, how he makes his money, and the rest of the family, isn’t clear. All we know is he has a house out in Nova Scotia, and the family is blessed. So the sequel could answer some questions about the past and help us understand how stable is Alec’s future?