Beam, who calls the actress “Supermom,” says the two formed a special connection on set in Atlanta.
“Jennifer and I spent so much great quality time together,” she says of Garner, who, like Beam, has Southern roots and is the mom of three kids. “She just wanted to know everything she could to make it the very best it could be.”
Indeed, Garner says she felt a special obligation when it came to retelling the family’s emotional journey.
“I felt a huge responsibility,” Garner said at a recent press day in Los Angeles to promote the movie. “I was so aware of all the moms – not just Christy – who are going through it right now, praying for that miracle and hoping for a moment of peace.”
In December 2011, after suffering from a chronic intestinal disorder for four years, Annabel fell headfirst inside a hollow tree in their yard, somehow emerging without serious injuries. And somehow free of her stomach disorder.
The movie, based on Beam’s book by the same name, also showcases the emotional relationship between Christy and her husband Kevin during the four years they dealt with Annabel’s serious stomach ailments. Garner said she liked being able to “bring an authentic, healthy marriage onto the screen. They were allowed to fight, they were allowed to disagree. But you never question that these people are in it together and are a team. I love that.
“It was really important to Christy that her marriage wasn’t just used as a dramatic device – that you could always see the love,” she added.
In the movie, Annabel, now 13, recounts how she went to heaven while trapped in the tree and emerged healthier than she’d been in years. The Beam family believes that the recovery of her stomach condition was a miracle. Garner, for one, is open to the idea.
“As I was growing up,” she said, “my mom was so intent on us finding joy in small things. She said, ‘If you don’t have the ability to find joy in a flower opening, or in a meal that you love, or in a conversation, then you won’t have joy in life.’ It’s saying to open yourself up to the idea that there are miracles everywhere, all the time. Because I was raised that way, it’s something I connect to in the movie.”