Heaven Is For Real tells the amazing true story of Colton Burpo and his experience of Heaven. This is the second film I have seen in 2014 relating to Christianity, the other being God’s Not Dead. I think it is good that more films like this are being released into the cinema and slowly but surely I think that they are breaking away from their cheesy stereotypes.
I was impressed with God’s Not Dead, however it did have its issues. For me Heaven Is For Real does a much better job and comes off as a really credible film. Unfortunately this film did do the one thing that I was hoping it wouldn’t – it featured a visual depiction of Heaven. This was something that I was worried about as soon as I heard that there was going to be a film version of the book. Some people may think that this film had to feature this but I disagree. I honestly think it would have been more effective if there had just been a description from Colton. The first scene that featured this depiction looked awful, as a result of them deciding not to show anything very clearly it just looked like the effects were terrible and it really degraded the tone of the film. It is a real shame as a good tone had been set up to this point, it is recovered but it was the low point of the film.
Now there is so much good about this movie too, the performances put in by the cast are really good, I was impressed. I thought that Kelly Reilly stood out the most contributing a wonderfully believable performance that was a joy to watch. Her on screen husband Greg Kinnear also does well and portrays the struggles that Colton’s Father has to wrestle with brilliantly. I was slightly concerned with this film also because I knew that a very young child actor would be required to play Colton. Connor Corum was the actor to take up this role, at the start of the film I was undecided but by the end I was impressed. Whereas I don’t think he would have been able to portray the same emotion that the older cast members would (understandably so) his facial expressions and physical actions were quite something and really enhanced this role and the film. Another element of this film that I enjoyed was the depiction of the Church, in terms of its politics and humour within it I thought that both these elements were handled accurately and gave a lot to this film. I also really loved some of the shots that were created, especially of the Burpo family looking out from their porch onto the Nebraskan countryside, these shots were pretty special.
Overall Heaven Is For Real breaks away from the cheesy, cringy Christian movie stereotype and although it has its blips it is so successful in dealing with its content and provoking an emotional response from its audience. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.
BIGGEST FLAW – Depiction of Heaven
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Kelly Reilly’s performance
Rating – 8/10