In the affecting drama Three Wishes, a mysterious stranger transforms a suburban family during the 1950s. Jeanne takes in Jack, a vagrant, after accidentally hitting him with her car while trying to avoid running over his dog. Her husband has been lost in the Korean War. Jack turns out to be quite a miracle worker. He becomes a surrogate father to Tom, who desperately wants to fit in with the other boys in the neighborhood. He helps Gunny, who is five, escape from a self-imposed prison of fear. And the stranger gives Jeanne the moral support she needs to start her own business.
Patrick Swayze makes the most of Jack's spiritual gifts as a healer, helper, and Zen practitioner of the art of baseball. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio comes across with a vibrant performance as Jeanne, an independent woman ahead of her time. Director Martha Coolidge gives Three Wishes just the right mix of magic and realism. It qualifies as a genuinely satisfying feel-good parable about positive thinking and living in the moment.