MOVIE REVIEW - Heaven Is For Real

on 16 April 2014.

This week, one of the best selling books in a long time comes to the movies. Greg Kinnear stars in the new, Heaven Is For Real.

This is based in part on the true story of a Nebraska Methodist Reverend (Kinnear) whose 4-year old son Colton, has a near death experience.  Colton then emerges from his emergency surgery and is talking about, and claiming he was in heaven. His revelation is so vivid that his father, town, and church congregation start to question their own faith wondering if they can fathom such a thing that is literally being presented to them.  How could Colton know so much, being so little?

This is a very interesting movie for many reasons.  First, a huge amount of Hollywood critics are going to dismiss this out of hand, and slam it mercilessly.  And the people that go to it, are going to love it.  It is a story that none of us have really ever seen before told this way at least.  It's a movie that has something to say, says it, and lets you go home.  And although I have read from many that this is far too religious for many critics to bear, I disagree, as I thought it was a story - period.

As many of these kind of themed movies are, this to me was simply the story of this little boy and his ordeal.  Yes, he claims he saw heaven. You can decide if you believe that or not. This movie does not demand that you do.  Yes, his father is a Reverend.  And yes, much of this takes place in a church, and with a dose of spirituality.  Well, what do you expect?

That's the story that is being told.  Can't really water that down to make some a bit more comfortable.  From my seat, this movie is not trying to change your mind, or sway your thinking to an agenda.  This doesn't really preach at you, or go overboard with speechy dialogue about your faith. It simply tells the story that is at hand.  I have seen movies far, far more agenda laden than this.

This is not perfect by any means. In fact, there are parts of this that are a bit awkward, poorly written and wandering as a screenplay from the book.  Also, it doesn't go as deep as I though it would into detail of Colton's actual experience. I expected more depth that never came.  Kinnear is fine as our pastor in search of answers.  And his supporting cast is fine, although the great Thomas Haden Church is over casted in a small supporting role. 

This is a movie that is going to have limited, but loyal appeal.  There won't be many people going to see this that have an honest curiosity about it.  It has a built in audience that has a love for the book, or this kind of story.  Those who go will love this. I did find it interesting that when this movie was over, people didn't seen to want to leave as they watched the credits almost entirely.  You don't see that very often. 

Heaven Is For Real.   Needs to be seen honestly for what it is.   It's simply a story of this little boy, with a big story .

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