It's Dublin in the late 60's and the housewives blow their noses and pray to the Virgin Mary while their husbands toil and/or sit in the pub. Chrissie (Laura Linney) returns here after 40 years in the United States to bury her mother. Chrissie's return immediately tears open a whole series of unhealed, itchy wounds. It's about Catholic honour issues with young love, forbidden pregnancies and grief.

Kathy Bates plays the former best friend Eileen, Maggie Smith, the mother of Chrissie's great childhood sweetheart and the young and nice Dolly (Agnes O'Casey) whose great regret is that her son can't, or won't, talk.

It so happens that these four women go on a group trip to Lourdes. The French city where the Virgin Mary herself appeared in a cave in the 1800s and the water is said to be healing. The hope is that quiet children will start talking, a lump in the breast will disappear and perhaps reconciliation will be achieved.

Kathy Bates is grim in a really lovely way, otherwise "Miracle Club" is astonishingly predictable. Filmmakers don't always have to reinvent the wheel, but surely you should at least strive for some kind of personal imprint? Especially with the phenomenal lineup of Bates, Linney, and Smith. Here, the form is taken directly from simmering feel-good: dummies become nice, the timid ones get to live out and there seems to be no limit to how many times the strings can start over.

Of course, the miracles don't looklike anyone expected, and of course the atonement will come. The film lightly touches on a dark story about the straitjacket of Catholicism and the diabolical orders of nuns who stole illegitimate children and forced women into slave labor in "Magdalena laundries" until the 1990s.

Of course, the "Miracle Club" is created to be enjoyable and consoling. But the shadows could have been delayed a little longer, if only to make the light clearer. The biggest takeaway lies in Kathy Bates' interpretation of the grumpy Eileen and her grim awakening when she realizes how weak the miracle statistics Lourdes actually has.