Is For Real
get older, the
mystery and wonder of what comes next after this life enters my mind
more and more. Maybe that’s why a movie like Heaven
Is For Real and tales like it
have such resonance with us. We want to know what’s next and
have certain wishes and hopes for what it could be.
Based on the true story (and resulting book), Greg Kinnear stars as
Todd Burpo – a preacher and garage door repairman from
Nebraska. Life is tough, but he has his wonderful wife, Sonja (Kelly
Reilly), 2 kids, good friends and a congregation of churchgoers who
love and respect him.
A series of negative life events have started taking their toll on the
Burpos, and they now face their greatest crisis when young Colton
(Connor Corum) suddenly becomes ill from a ruptured appendix.
It’s a near death experience that rocks the family and their
finances, but what Colton has to say about the matter is what truly
causes concern. The young, 4-year old boy claims he went to heaven, and
the tales he tells give his story amazing credibility.
Heaven Is For
Real is an extremely emotional
movie, and writer/director Randall Wallace, along with writer Chris
Parker, makes it a religious movie that never proselytizes or tries to
force the audience into believing. Sure, it declares heaven is real in
the title, but each character and each person watching is given the
chance to consider the possibility, or lack of it. It’s a
realistic portrayal of the questioning and sensationalism that would
follow such claims by the young boy, and how each person who comes into
contact with him and his story would be left wonder.
Wallace does have some troubles getting the movie going. Early on in Heaven
Is For Real, we spend far too
much time on background information learning about Todd and his
struggles, the family’s relationships with each other and
Todd’s standing in the community. It all could be
accomplished a bit quicker, especially since the heart of the movie is
Colton’s experience and the fallout from sharing his story,
which could have used more time and explanation. It’s the
meat of the story, and Wallace is spending too much time serving up the
This is an amazing cast. Kinnear is awesome, and this could be
considered among one of the best performances of his career. He brings
an honesty to Todd’s struggle with life, its challenges, and
what his young child is telling him. Kinnear shows the inner turmoil
Todd experiences when presented the ultimate proof of what he has been
preaching, believing and learning all of his life, yet, can’t
Meanwhile, Reilly, Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church bring a
steadiness to the proceedings that is needed given the subject matter.
Each one is measured in all of the right ways as their characters
respond to the events around them. We don’t have a bunch of
histrionics here, and you will be glad for that.
Heaven Is For
Real is a movie that does make
you question faith, and might even give you a bit of hope about the
Is For Real is rated PG thematic material including some medical