Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Movie Coming

      I am excited to see this movie!  I love good movies--those with good moral lessons and/or inspiring story lines!  I read Heaven Is For Real and found it enlightening and thought-provoking.  I'm sure the movie will be also.
It's a movie that spurs the all-important dialogue that is always in the back of our minds (if not the forefront)—whether a Believer or not—which is: "Is Heaven real?"
Heaven is for RealI found Todd Burpo's NY Times best-selling book, "Heaven Is For Real," to be a very down-to-earth account of his son, Colton's experiences while lingering between this life and Heaven, and how he—as a pastor—reconciled what his son described with his own beliefs. (Graphic: "Heaven Is For Real" official movie poster)

But, when I heard they were making a movie out of the book, I admit I was afraid of the "hokey factor" that seems to have accompanied many faith-based films in the past.

Last night, I attended a private screening for "Heaven Is For Real" which will be released on April 16th—just in time for the Easter weekend.

If you're not familiar with the true story of what happened with the Burpos, here's a quick synopsis...
Heaven is for Real
Todd Burpo is the pastor of a small-town church in America's heartland, where he lives with his wife Sonja; daughter, Cassie and son, Colton, who was just 3 at the time. A sudden and severe illness lands Colton in the hospital, and as he hovers between life and death, his family and church friends cry out to God on his behalf. (Photo: Connor Corum and Greg Kinnear as Colton and Todd Burpo)

Colton recovers, quite miraculously, and a short time after, he begins to share matter-of-factly with his parents, some of what he experienced when 'his body' was in the hospital, and he was 'somewhere else.' What he tells his family, and others who will listen, changes everything.

Heaven is for Real
The acting in "Heaven Is For Real" was excellent, in my opinion. Greg Kinnear plays Todd Burpo; Kelly Reilly plays his wife Sonja; and Connor Corum is an amazing child actor, aptly playing the role of Colton Burpo. (Photo: Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo)

This cast, along with 'church friends,' Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church, are completely believable and all seem to operate in that magical place of "I forgot they were acting."

Heaven is for Real
Under the direction of Randall Wallace (think "Braveheart"), the story of Colton describing his time in "Heaven" was expertly told, and in a very heartfelt, human way, in which we can all relate.
As Todd Burpo hears from his son, the extremely specific details about Heaven, he is suddenly faced with his own lack of belief, and just how to deal with that as a pastor.
Heaven is for Real
However, the more Colton shares about his time spent with Jesus, and the others he met during his experience; the more those who hear it are changed by what it means to each of them. (Photo: Connor Corum as 'Colton')

The movie dialog contains no expletives that I can remember, and I only felt the "hokey meter" begin to register a bit during the scenes (which were very brief) that depicted Heaven, and a few angels. Perhaps a few too many clouds—but seriously, what do I know? Maybe there are a lot of clouds there! (It just seemed slightly cliché at that point.)
Heaven is for Real
But on the other hand, how does one portray Heaven with special effects and have it not feel somewhat hokey? I do like the way they kept Jesus' face somewhat silhouetted until the very end, when child-prodigy artist Akiane's "Jesus" portrait is revealed. (That was the only picture of the Lord that Colton said was accurate.)
Heaven is for Real
On the whole, I would highly recommend "Heaven Is For Real," especially if you read and loved the book—but even if you didn't. Above all, it's the great love of God that is communicated through this film.(Photo: The 'real' Burpo family)

It's a movie that spurs the all-important dialogue that is always in the back of our minds (if not the forefront)—whether a Believer or not—which is: "Is Heaven real?"

And then, "If Heaven is does that change how I live my life now?"

"Heaven Is For Real" releases in about 2,500 theaters across the country on Wednesday, April 16th. To watch the official trailer, and for more information about the movie, Click Here.

Aimee Herd for Breaking Christian News 

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