Heaven Is for Real
Small-town businessman, pastor and volunteer firefighter Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Sonja (Kelly Reilly), are struggling to make ends meet during a tough year. After their young son, Colton (Connor Corum), undergoes emergency surgery, Todd and Sonja are overjoyed at the child's miraculous recovery. However, the Burpos are unprepared for what happens next -- Colton says that he went to heaven and back, and tells his parents things that he couldn't possibly know.
Release Date: April 16, 2014
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I was very excited to go to this movie, but felt very disappointed after seeing it. If you have seen the previews and watched any interviews on TV you have seen everything of importance in the movie. I was hopping there would be more insights from the little boy, but the whole movie deals with the emotional trials of his father and other adults. Isn't that the way life is? Children have a great view of life and the world but the adults are all troubled and messed up. They even tried to throw in a sexy mom in hopes of making the movie more interesting, but the whole movie dragged on and on. It was not the uplifting movie I was hoping for. Let's just listen to the children from now on!1 Thank ·
As my wife and I drove home from seeing this movie we pondered what would happen if this had happened in our own community and church. The movie is uplifting and raises some questions as to the belief we claim to have.
Movie Review Maven Grade = B
In a Nutshell: This is a simple movie with a simple message, and yet it is very powerful. Perfectly timed for Easter, this faith-building film is based on the New York Times best-selling book Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo, the father of a boy who saw heaven during a hospital operation when he was only four years old.
I heard a recent interview with the “real” Colton and his dad on the radio. Colton is now a teenager. He continues to share his simple message that heaven IS for real.
I thought it was interesting that Colton’s parents (in real life) had such a hard time believing their son, especially considering Todd Burpo was a pastor and his wife was a believer. I suppose it’s easy to believe IN Jesus Christ, but harder to believe Jesus. What this film does well is get Christians to really think through what they believe, rather than try to convince non-Christians to believe.
Heaven is real.
God is real.
We live after this life.
When Todd Burpo gave his final sermon at the end of the movie at church, the notes that he used were only a few bullet points: “Only faith heals wounds” and “God is love.”
Things I liked:
I’ve always loved Thomas Haden Church ever since he was a young actor in the old TV show WINGS - Seasons 1 & 2
Greg Kinnear always gives a solid, charming performance.
The Burpo’s friend, Nancy Rawling, had a beautiful indoor garden filled with flowers and lovely plants. Nancy is played by Margo Martindale, who always does a great job as a believable character. I loved the conversation Nancy and Todd had at the cemetery about their sons. It was truly touching and profound.
Connor Corum, who played the young Colton Burpo, did a fantastic job and was absolutely adorable. He has a bright future in Hollywood.
I loved the scene when Colton casually mentions to his mother that he saw his unborn sister in heaven. Tears streamed down the mothers face, as well as mine. I had several miscarriages and shared the pain and sorrow that Sonja Burpo felt. My heart ached for my little unborn babies. After my first miscarriage, I found a book that really helped my heart to heal. The author (Sarah Hinze) and I are now Facebook friends! It’s called Life Before Life : A Collection of Mothers’ Experiences With Their Pre-born Children. Since then, Sarah has written several other books about life before life that are very inspiring. I have read many life after life books based on people’s near death experiences, but Sarah’s books take us on a journey in the opposite direction that provide insights that teach us that this mortal life is only a part of the whole story.
The movie is about what Colton saw in heaven, but it also illustrates how precious this time on earth is.
Things I didn’t like:
I was proud of the child actors for holding that tarantula, but I certainly wouldn’t do that for a sticker! EEK!
I think British actress Kelly Reilly is so beautiful and feminine, but her singing voice didn’t add anything, unless director Randall Wallace was going for a home-towny feel for the church with small talent, but big heart.
David Blaustein from ABC News Radio recently said about the movie “The earnest performances aren’t enough to elevate the vanilla narrative from a faith-based film that will only preach to the choir.” While I tend to agree, the movie still made me cry and reflect on the wonder of life and death.
“If heaven is for real, wouldn’t we all live different lives?” – Todd Burpo
Did Colton go to heaven? Yes. He saw the heaven Jesus wanted him to see.” – Todd Burpo
“God crushed my pride and opened my heart to love and all I have to do. The one thing love requires is to let others know they’re not alone.” - Todd Burpo
“You don’t have to save the world, Todd. I believe that’s already been done.” – Nancy Rawling
Todd Burpo (played by Greg Kinnear) explains to his son that some people might be afraid of what Colton said he saw in heaven. “What are they afraid of?” asks the innocent Colton. His dad replies “That there might be a heaven or that there might not be.”
Colton’s sister punched a kid at school who was making fun of her brother . Her parents encouraged her to be more Christian and “turn the other cheek.” Cassie says “I DID turn his other cheek when I hit him.”
Things to look for:
Every time there is a scene that takes place in the church, blue is a prominent color. Of course, the wall behind the podium is blue, but so is the pastor’s shirt, the children’s choir bows, and many of the other people’s clothing. I suppose director Randall Wallace wanted to use blue to depict a calming, heavenly color.
I loved the cool birdhouse in their yard and the view from their home in the heartland of Nebraska.
Things we learn about heaven through Colton’s experience:
"Jesus has a horse."
Angels have a sense of humor and laugh.
"In heaven, everybody’s young"
"Nobody wears glasses in heaven."
People are always singing in heaven.
You feel love and peace.
Tips for parents: This movie is very family-friendly and a safe place to begin a discussion about death with your children.April 23rd, 2014 · Details
This is the kind of movie, I hope, Christians will hang their hats on. It’s meant to uplift, encourage and inspire. It focuses on what they believe, rather than on what they believe others get wrong.
“Heaven is for Real” takes a strong position without strong-arming its detractors... and in that light of “turning the other cheek,” this seems like the best way to go, it they want others to hear their message... See Full Review
This movie will be the cause a lot of debate in both the religious world and also with to those who do not believe in an eternal place called Heaven. It is an entertaining film but not intended for very young children as it will likely not keep their attention for long... See Full Review
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is an extremely good faith-based movie. It’s one of the most captivating, inspiring movies of this or any other year. The dialogue is wonderful. Greg Kinnear does a superlative job as Todd Burpo. Also, little Connor Colum is amazing as Colton. Randall Wallace does a brilliant job of directing. Best of all, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL shows that God is real, Heaven is real, Jesus is real, and God is love. It challenges everyone to go forth in faith and love... See Full Review
“Heaven is for Real” accentuates the positive, the simple faith ingrained in a kid who learns “Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Little Children of the World” fresh out of the cradle. Whatever the film’s other failings, it presents an incredible story with a credulous, approachable innocence that it to be envied, whether or not you believe a word of it... See Full Review
A movie like “Heaven is for Real” requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wrote the book about his son. The first group will find what they are looking for. Anyone else is unlikely to feel enlightened or inspired... See Full Review
the book and movie is great <3March 14th, 2014 · Details