Thursday, April 17, 2014

Heaven is for Real

Released April 16, 2014
PG , 1 hr 50 min


Randall Wallace


Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo
Kelly Reilly as Sonja
Connor Corum as Colton
Thomas Haden Church as Jay Olson
Jacob Vargas as Michael
Nancy Sorel as Dr. Slater
Lane Styles as Cassie

Review by Stephen M.

Based on the bestselling book of the same name by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, Heaven is for Real touches the heart and challenges your perceptions of what the afterlife could possibly hold for us.  The film and book is about a young boy who facing near death says he had an out of body experience and visited Heaven and met Jesus among others.  Whether or not you believe in his experience or the Christian beliefs or not, the film is will tug at your heart and is movie that the entire family can enjoy.

With any film that stars children, the cuter the better and that is exactly what Connor Corum as Colton is.  His interaction with his father Todd (Greg Kinnear) is adorable.  Greg does a great job as Todd a small town preacher who along with his wife Sonja (Kelly Reilly) struggles to make ends meet.  Todd relies heavily on the barter system which doesn't exactly help pay bills which the wife is not too happy about.  Their marital struggles continue after Colton's illness that lands him in the hospital where he experiences Heaven.  The movie is as much about them as it is about Colton.

What Christians may not like about the film is that some of the ideas that it presents from what the boy experiences in Heaven.  Even his father's beliefs are put in doubt which threaten his job at his church.  Greg Kinnear goes through a spectrum of emotions in this one and really shines.  Though there are certain things I may not agree with, I thought it was still well written and interesting enough to carry people's attention throughout the film.  There are times in the latter half when things would slow to a crawl but pick up again when Colton reveals what else he experienced.  Tying with the little girl painter from the beginning is a nice touch in the end.

Overall, I would recommend this film, though I can see why certain people may not like it due to the religious theme of the film or that it's very sappy.  It is a well put together enough movie for me to say give it a chance and satisfy your curiosity as to what the boy believes he saw.  It does drag as certain points, so the pacing is a bit uneven.  As with all of these "based on a true story" movies it's nice to get a little update at the end of the film of where all the characters are up to in life since their experience.


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