This weekend we saw the new Greg Kinnear movie Heaven is for Real.
I find the topic sort of fascinating, so from that perspective, the movie did not disappoint.
Heaven is for Real is a good movie to see with people who like to talk after a movie… because there is definitely a lot to talk about – no matter where you stand on religion and afterlife. Maybe plan a little movie discussion group afterward.
But looking at it strictly from the movie perspective, I had a couple of problems with it. First of all, I thought the actual heaven reenactments were a little hokey. I’m not entirely sure how you’d get around that, but the hokiness was a distraction for me. And secondly, it was a bit one-sided. Clearly, Reverend Burpo and his son Colton were the heroes, and meant to be believed by the movie makers. The one doubter in the movie, the non-religious academic Burpo consults is painted as churlish and unlikeable. Also, the couples decision to go public with their son’s experience is brushed over as just happening with little thinking or decision making in play.
On the positive side, the acting was solid on all fronts… the little boy does a good job and Greg Kinnear is believable as the confused but hopeful Pastor Dad. I found the wife/Mom played by Kelly Reilly to be a tad too sultry for the role, but I loved Thomas Haden Church as the friend and church Board Member. But, truth be told, I’m kind of biased toward Thomas Haden Church, (I’ve had a thing for him ever since his days on Wings and Ned & Stacey).
All of that said, I’d give Heaven is for Real a C+. It’s wholly (or holy) forgettable and if you want to see it because you find the topic of interest, you can definitely wait for it to come to cable or you could go old school and read the book.