Originally titled Amelie Rennt, which loosely (and rather ironically, as you will see after watching the film) translates to ‘Amelie Runs’, Mountain Miracle is right up there on my list of favourite movies from 2018, second only to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Mountain Miracle is based in South Tyrol, a north-eastern province in Italy, and follows German protagonist Amelie (Mia Kasalo) as she comes to terms with her life-threatening asthma diagnosis. Her parents send her to a special asthma clinic in the scenic Italian mountains in the hopes that she will stop ignoring her illness, and instead begin taking the proactive steps required towards prevention of future attacks which have, in the past, left her hospitalised.
Amelie is infuriatingly stubborn, a tiny frame packed to the hilt with a relentless strength that defies anyone and anything silly enough to doubt her capabilities. Upon overhearing her guardians exclaim that she’d never be able to climb the mountain range nestled behind the clinic, Amelie decides to do just that. Along the way, she meets Bart (Samuel Girardi), a local Italian boy who takes it upon himself to watch over and accompany her on her trek up the mountainside. Quite the honourable feat, considering Amelie’s stubborn pride and callous attitude towards him.
The cinematography throughout the film truly captures the beauty of the mountains upon which Amelie and Bart journey, as do the various elemental forces that they encounter. Written by Natja Brunckhorst and Jyette-Merle Böhrnsen, Mountain Miracle boasts witty lines and emotive dialogue that is honest in its reflection of hesitant teenage banter, rebellion, self-discovery and growth.
The unexpected bond that forms between Amelie and Bart is both endearing and believable, quick to pull at our heartstrings and make us wish we’d had the courage to be as brave as Amelie in our own youth. Mountain Miracle is a well-written, well-directed and exceptionally delivered film that explores the innocence of childhood, the trauma of illness, the incredible bond of friendship and the resulting strength of character that comes along with it.
Won the ‘Outstanding Children or Youth Film’ award at the 2018 German Film Awards.