Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Heaven is For Real Review
Yes, this story is inspiring and it brings up a lot of religious points that can be discussed amongst fellow religious circles without being very preachy. However, I do have to be honest for a bit. The movie lacked the emotional firepower that I thought it was going to bring. Part of the problem was the pacing of the movie. For such an amazing story, it moved rather slow. It took a while to get into the main conflict of the movie, that of the boy's near-death experience and his subsequent trip to heaven, and instead just followed this family. I suppose it was just trying to set things up, but I felt the set-up was too long. Then after this conflict arose, the movie still felt really choppy. The emotional, religious experiences were spread out too much and we spent too much time focusing on things such as the family's finances and job situation. The other part of the problem is that I actually felt robbed by the trailer. "Well Adam that is your fault. You should stop watching and analyzing the trailers so much." Ok, yes that's true. But that's not going to happen. I love watching trailers and I use those trailers to both gauge my excitement and to determine what movies I'm going to see. That said, literally every emotional part of this movie was in the trailer. So while watching this movie, I went in cycles. There would be a time where I was bored because of the pacing issues. Then when it started to get good, I felt robbed because I had already seen what was going to happen. The trailer wasn't just a preview of the movie. The trailer was the movie with all the slow parts taken out. That frustrated me.
No this movie isn't perfect, but when push comes to shove, this is a religious movie that is trying to gently share a very inspiring story and in that aspect it does it's job. It teaches about faith. It teaches about family. It teaches about God. Criticisms towards the actual story itself that have arisen? They're out there. My response is that haters will hate. After watching this movie, I do believe that the events actually happened to this boy. In a near death experience, I think Jesus can take the hand of a little child, give him a glimpse of heaven, and introduce him to family members that have passed on before his time. Totally believable. The things that the boy says in this movie are totally consistent with Christian theologies about Heaven and honestly I think a lot can be learned from little children about life, faith, God, and Heaven. So yes, this did inspire me. Have I read the book written by Todd Burpo that this movie is based off of? No. Do I want to after seeing this? Yes. Do I think that the book will probably be better? Of course. But this movie does deserve credit as a good film for religious audiences and so I will give Heaven is For Real an 8/10 and encourage you to simply avoid the trailer if at all possible if you have yet to see this movie.
PS- My favorite scene was at the very end. I want to talk about it, but I don't want to spoil anything. So if you've seen this movie, ask me about it in private.