Sunday, May 4, 2014

Heaven Is For Real

We broke our all time record of movie watching by going to see Heaven Is For Real after watching God's Not Dead two weeks ago.

"Heaven Is for Real is a stranger and better movie. Where God’s Not Dead is an independent film made on a shoestring, and looks it, Heaven Is for Real is prettily shot, has a few special effects, and stars actors you’ve heard of, including Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, the father and small-town minister who wrote the memoir on which the film is based. However pious, however sincere, this is a movie with worldly as well as celestial matters on its mind: produced by Sony, it is full of plugs for that studio’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Most prominent is a Spidey action figure that the central character, four-year-old Colton Burpo, carries with him pretty much everywhere except heaven. That might have been overkill, marketing-wise.

Kinnear and the rest of the film’s cast, including Thomas Haden Church as a friend and church elder, and Kelly Reilly as Colton’s mom, ground the movie by giving unflashy performances, relying instead on their genial, low-key charisma. Kinnear in particular gives the scenes where Todd wrestles with the meaning of Colton’s experience an honest, appealing earnestness. What baffled secular me is why the film’s vision of heaven, which seemed almost boringly conventional—the handful of scenes illustrating Colton’s experiences look like the kinds of celestial imagery you’d see in a child’s Bible or on the walls at Mormon visitor’s center—is troubling to Todd and the members of his church. Their puzzlement felt like someone in an urban crime thriller being disturbed by a character’s firsthand account of a strip club that has poles and loud music. But maybe this all hinged on some doctrinal issue that escaped me. And without any conflict, the movie would have been over in 20 minutes, tops.
 
Aside from Jesus’s blue-green eyes and his horse—which, alas, we never see—what amused me most about Heaven Is for Real was the way the camera singles out Colton and tries to convey that he somehow stands apart from the rest of world. What with odd angles, back lighting, occasional flashes of lightning and even, at one point, a bedroom curtain eerily blowing in the wind, if you had the sound off you’d think you were watching a demon-seed movie. But films like these, which wear their goodness on their sleeves as a matter of course, have to find their dark, entertaining flourishes where they can, even when it strains."
 
Everyone has their own opinion.  We enjoyed God's Not dead more but both were worth the price of admission.  They make you think beyond this world.  God's Not Dead held our attention every word and scene where Heaven Is For Real has beautiful Nebraska scenery and little Connor Corom who steals the show.  Too much of the movie is focused on his dad, played by actor Greg Kinnear and the movie is slow in many places.

The young girl in Lithuania at the beginning and end of the movie ties it together, where God's Not Dead ties it together at least ten different ways.
 
I never thought I would have the chance to be a movie critic on HyMark High Spots!
 
I better stick to agriculture, right?
 
Ed Winkle

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