Movie: Heaven Is For Real
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) is a pastor in a small Nebraska town. He has a congregation that likes his down to earth sermons, he’s a volunteer fireman, a garage door repairman, an ardent softball player, and a devoted husband to Sonja (Kelly Reilly) and father to Colton (Connor Corum) and Cassie (Lane Styles). He is the model of a popular Christian man in an idyllic Midwestern setting.
Bad things happen to good people. Four year old Colton has a burst appendix, and is rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. His life hangs precariously in the balance, but pulls through in what his doctor calls a miraculous recovery. Over the next few weeks, Colton occasionally refers to his visit to heaven. At first his father pooh-poohs the comments as the result of an anesthesia induced dream, but a few of the young boy’s remarks give Todd pause. Colton recounts his experience of floating during the operation, and accurately recounting what his parents were doing. Then he talks about angels singing to him in heaven, and how they laughed when he requested they sing “We Will Rock You”. When shown typical artist conceptions of Jesus from books, Colton kept saying, “He doesn’t look like that. He has blue-green eyes”. The description of Jesus becomes more startling when Colton mentions marks of the crucifixion. When he is finally shown a painting of Jesus by Akiane Kramarik, he calmly states, “That’s what he looks like”. This finally convinces Todd that his son could actually have had a real experience with heaven, as Akiane is a young girl famous for religious visions, and her vision of Jesus has him with blue-green eyes.
What is the truth? Todd wrestles with the enormity of what may be possible. A talented cast gives a nuanced performance and show how real people would react to a possible miracle in their midst. As to whether the movie goer believes in Colton’s story, that may very well depend on their own religious beliefs. As a Christian themed movie, this is one of the very best.
Actors To Watch: Greg Kinnear (TV’s “Rake”; “As Good As It Gets”) and Margo Martindale (TV “Justified”; “The Americans”) are top notch performers. Kelly Reilly also just got the lead to a TV show, “Black Box”.
Post Credit Stuff: At the end of the film, you get to see pictures of the real life Burpo family.