Film Review: Spirituality Over Dogma Uplifts ‘Heaven Is for Real’

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CHICAGO – It would be easy to dismiss “Heaven Is for Real,” given that it is based on the visions of the afterlife by a child, that just happens to coincide perfectly with Christian doctrine (Jesus, Angels, etc.). But there is more to this film in the sincerity of its spirituality, and it succeeds with that inspiration.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The key was establishing a viable authenticity to the atmosphere of the vision, and get the right cast to deliver it, which director Randall Wallace (“Secretariat,” “We Were Soldiers”) was able to accomplish. He creates a hometown America that is part of the scenario, a luxurious and spacious hinterland of unyielding peace. The juxtaposition of the otherworldly garden of the boy’s vision with the wonder of earth creates a “heaven” that is for real, if we open our eyes. That spirit of simplicity becomes the kingdom.

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) is a church pastor in a small, rural town, but to make ends meet he has a business, coaches the local high school wrestling team and is part of the volunteer fire department. His financial woes weigh heavily, even with support from his wife Sonja (Kelly Reilly). To make matters worse, his young son Colton (Connor Corum) needs emergency surgery when his appendix ruptures.

When the boy recovers, he begins to tell his father that he visited heaven. When Todd asks Colton for more details, the revelations the boy gives are eye opening – including meeting a long dead relative and an unborn sister. Colton also describes angels, Jesus and the cloud view of a Christian paradise. This riles up the town, threatens Todd’s status as a preacher and tests the faith of all involved.

“Heaven Is for Real” opens everywhere on April 16th. Featuring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Margo Martindale and Connor Corum. Screenplay by Randall Wallace and Chris Parker. Directed by Randall Wallace. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Heaven Is for Real”

Greg Kinnear, Connor Corum
Skeptical: Todd (Greg Kinnear) Questions His Son Colton (Connor Corum) in ‘Heaven Is for Real’’
Photo credit: TriStar Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Heaven Is for Real”

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