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Is The Healer a True Story?

May 31, 2020
3 min read

From actual recitals of Biblical verses to motivational tales of one losing faith and then grabbing onto it again, faith-based movies often leave us with a lesson or two about life. More than that, they also serve as perfect films that can be enjoyed by the whole family. ‘The Healer’ (2017) is a faith-based film that centers around a young man, Alec, who discovers that he has inherited a unique ability to magically heal people. At first, he refuses to believe that he possesses any such abilities. But when he meets Abigail, a teen with terminal cancer, he soon starts to embrace what he has. Although its premise may not sound realistic, like most faith-centric tales, ‘The Healer’ draws its inspiration from real life; primarily from the true encounters of its creator, Paco Arango.

Is The Healer Based on a True Story?

As you can tell from its plot itself, ‘The Healer’ is a fantastical-fictional tale. So clearly, it isn’t based on a true story. However, the film still finds its roots in reality from its purely philanthropic initiatives. As explained by director Paco Arango himself, about 17 years ago he started volunteering with children with cancer. After a while, he got so involved with this initiative that he eventually started his own cancer foundation for children in Spain, which is named after one of his own Spanish sitcoms—The Aldina Fund.

His work soon led him to Paul Newman, who is not only remembered for his brilliant performance in renowned films like ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid‘ and ‘Road to Perdition’ but also for his charitable work for children. Newman’s foundation ‘The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’ has raised over half a billion dollars since it was started and its Newman’s contribution to society that led to the inception of Paco Arango’s faith-based film. But Paco very well knew that if he wanted his film to raise funds for his charity, then it’ll have to be good enough. So to ensure that the film lures enough viewers, Paco devised the film’s storyline in such a way that it not only evokes a feeling of hope but also allows viewers to enjoy the whole experience of watching it.

As mentioned earlier, the film depicts a teen named Abigail, who suffers from terminal cancer. Initially, when Paco had jotted down the movie’s script, he had named Abigail’s character differently. But later, after he started filming the movie in Nova Scotia, he met a woman who had recently lost her daughter, Abigail, to cancer. With this, the director not only dedicated his character to the real Abigail but also made a donation to the hospital in Halifax, where she was being treated.

Some might see ‘The Healer’ as a mere “make-believe” tale of faith that adopts an over-the-top story. However, in many ways, it alludes to the real-life work of several healers like Paul Newman, who did not have magical abilities of healing but still literally served as “angels” for many through their charity work. Moreover, ‘The Healer’ may not be based on a true story, but its benevolent pursuits can not only uplift but inspire people to contribute to society in some ways.

Read More: The Healer Filming Locations

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