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Reviews & Ratings for
Heaven More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

subtle, surprising, engaging

Author: msdawntreader from Santa Fe NM, USA
22 June 2003

I loved this movie, found it mesmerizing. It has all the elements of your basic thriller but with an entirely different implementation, making it subtle, profound, uplifting and unexpected. Cate Blanchett is fabulous. Just see it!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Mixed Bag

Author: saint999 from New York
8 October 2002

When this film is good it is very, very good but when it is bad it is horrid. Excellent cinematography, some excellent direction (the opening is put together like a jigsaw puzzle and the plot and counterplot during the interrogation of the main character was intricate and amusing), some excellent acting. Unfortunately the motivation of the main character is ridiculous beyond belief. When the Turin Police don't return her calls about a drug dealer she considers responsible for several deaths she decides to do the only possible thing: kill him with a BOMB set off in an office building DURING WORKING HOURS. If the character had gone totally beserk or was simply a homicidal moron or even a terrorist ... but no, this is a loving teacher of young children who faints in horror when she finds out four innocent people got killed. Cate Blanchett should get an Oscar for keeping a straight face. This crud passes for moral complexity but actually it is just a jumble of contrasting stereotypes stuffed into a single character. If you want to see a movie about how good people end up as vigilantes see In the Bedroom.

After messing around with "moral complexity" the movie opts for being a love story and the luscious cinematography serves it well. There are many striking, haunting images. Ribisi is convincing as a strange, sweet young man who falls off a cliff when he falls in love. Blanchett shows no feeling at all. Maybe she is still trying to keep a straight face - the dialogue is awful. Then the cops arrive with assault rifles. But in shoddy movies men with guns can't hit the side of a barn so the lovers are able to steal the police chopper.

Did Tykwer mess up the script or was it just unfinished?

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Another very interesting movie from Tom Tykwer

Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
20 December 2006

After the internationally successful movie Run Lola run,Tom Tykwer could have directed more cool movies.But for his credit,he decided to make new things.Heaven is another very interesting serious movie directed by Tykwer and he brings an intense and deep drama.Tykwer challenged all the clichés.Cate Blanchett is a great actress and,here,she brings a brilliant performance.Giovanni Ribisi is another great actor who surprised me on the brilliant film Suburbia.Here,he brings an excellent performance.Heaven is a very competent serious and adult movie showing a romantic relationship with an innovative vision and without cheap sentimentalism.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A dreamlike romance, both interesting and not, for the same reasons.

Author: TheVid from Colorado Springs
17 September 2003

This dreamy fable about coincidence, fate, and lack of control is at once moody and involving while at the same time, overt and pretentious. It's a retread of themes Kieslowski has already firmly and brilliantly presented while he was alive, and this takeover project simply makes one appreciate the brilliance of his THREE COLORS TRILOGY. The fine performances and Italian production design make this a worthwhile venture, and the stream of events make for a sensitive and intriguing morality tale in spite of it's shortcomings. The steady cam work is rather overbearing, but obviously Twyker had fun with it. Not as mesmerizing or as deep as it hoped to be.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Easily Misunderstood

Author: Mark from Charlottesville VA
14 June 2003

I found this film complicated as it immediately challenges one's desire to sympathize with the main characters. One is a bomber, and the other a police officer who falls in love with her, so only those capable of dealing with complexity will enjoy this film on a higher level. Many seem to have found it tedious, that's too bad. It reminds me of people's opinions of La Dulce Vita, most viewers couldn't devote that much attention to something so drawn out and complicated, and as such dismiss it as being mediocre. But like many things in life, like poetry or literature, comprehension takes effort, attention, and patience. From what I understand this will be another trilogy in the vein of Krzysztof Kieslowski focusing on Dante's Divine Comedy. Heaven will be the first installment which should also include, of course, Inferno and Purgatory.

This film speaks to the redeeming power of love, and how it can allow forgiveness for even the most criminal of acts. Tykwer successfully brings the audience from condemnation to forgiveness as two people fall in love. It is not surprising such thoughtfulness might limit the appeal of a film.

If you like movies with a gun on the cover, do not see this one. If you like movies that are thoughtful, and will reward a deeper look into their workings and meanings this can be a very rewarding film. If you liked, for instance, The Seventh Seal, Dulce Vita, 8 1/2 or the Blue/White/Red trilogy this film will appeal to you. I thought it was the best film I saw last year. 9/10.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

an epic love of moral paradoxes and redemptive crucifixion

Author: Donnie Zuo from Beijing, China
23 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first watching I immediately knew that it'd be one of my all-time favorites. I sat and meditated in the darkness all through the night with Arvo Pärt's starlike notes repeating (I finished the film at 2:00 a.m.).

Heaven, a word too simple and widely used to impress, receives its most unusual meaning in this film.

She was reduced to distrusting in sense, justice and life, but was given the sole choice to lean on him. He forsook the bright future lying ahead, craving for the only chance to be her Adam. They had nothing in common except determination. One cannot keep flying higher and higher, but they did.

Cate was one of my favorite actresses until this film drew her out of the squad and made her the one and only beyond all my favorites, which is due to her excellent acting plus Tom Tykwer's directing and Kieslowski's script.

She cannot be categorized as a typical beauty, but her appearance is so gorgeously formed that every part of her face and every inch of her skin is so expressive and informative. She's got all the emotions and powers inside her body, and she never failed to overwhelm me by her role in any movie I've seen.

This is not the first time I heard Arvo Pärt's "Für Alina" and "Spiegel im Spiegel" in a movie, but this is the first time I felt the trinity of the film, the music and me.

When the notes from "Für Alina" sparsely stroke like the stars twinkling in the night sky and the space cam floating above the crowded city, I gave away all the trivial feelings and thoughts and as if told to go through a storm following this tranquility.

However, I was still over-thrilled by the ending. **(spoiler)Watching their helicopter ascending and hearing Arvo Pärt again**, my chest shivered and my tears silently flowed into rivers.

We don't bother to think about what comes after the ending. I bet everyone knows at a certain height the helicopter would finally malfunction and collapse and they would fall down to the ground. There'd be remains and blood, and those policemen would clear the scene and joke on this crazy criminal couple.

They just didn't care anymore. They've done their parts to fight reality and they knew they were doomed to lose, but they demonstrated their ultimate sarcasm and despise by crucifying themselves to a world understood but not trying to understand.

Sky and earth; hope and desperation; romance and reality; intelligence and ignorance; doubts and determination; justice and morality...All these contrasts in this film are too sharp to bear. My tears vaporized; my body stiffened; my mind was in a trance. I felt grateful and shamed as if they were crucifying themselves for the sake of all of us who have so limited capacity of action in this disappointing world.

I was lucky enough not to have a lover by my side when watching it because after the film I'd possibly dump him anyway for the shames and compromises we will suffer and a heaven we can never strive for --- like some Andre Gide's character.

We don't dare to do what Philippa and Filippo did, and this is the truth with which the film penetrated right through my heart.

Really, it is the kind of romance of moral paradoxes and redemption that requires too much of an individual to enjoy. I was overwhelmed and exploited. As for Krzysztof Kieslowski, it must've taken him one dream or more of all human beings to die. And it's worth it.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

In a word, dull.

Author: snake77 from Portland, OR
20 December 2002

I'm at a loss to understand the praise this film seems to be getting. I thought it was basically a retelling of The Princess And The Warrior, but not even as interesting as that boring film. Going in I had great expectations - Cate Blanchett is a favorite of mine, and I'm still impressed by Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run. Unfortunately Tykwer seems to have lost the energetic storytelling flair he showed in that film. Instead he appears to be searching for a slower, more soulful kind of cinema. But it's just not working. Meant to be dreamlike, Heaven ends up being more trance inducing. I just couldn't get interested in the story, characters or direction. Hopefully all involved will move on to do more interesting projects.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a feast

Author: blanche-2 from United States
21 December 2015

I guess "Heaven" is what is called an "art film." Released in 2002, it stars the incomparable Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Directed by Tom Tykwer, it is written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, who intended to make a trilogy, "Heaven, Hell and Purgatory." There was one other film made, supposedly as part of this trilogy, called Nadzieja, which is Polish for Hope - so perhaps this movie is "Purgatory."

A British teacher who lives in Turin, Italy, Philippa, loses her husband to a drug overdose. Destroyed by this, she works hard to have the drug dealer, the biggest in Turin, arrested and punished.

Her efforts are completely ignored by the local police. In desperation, she makes a bomb and sets it off in the location of his office. It's a disaster, as four people - a cleaning lady, a father, and two children - are killed when an elevator snaps due to the bomb.

She is arrested and is horrified when given this information. She insists upon speaking English instead of Italian when questioned, so a young police officer Filipo (Ribisi) offers to interpret. He falls in love with her and helps her escape.

It's no coincidence that the two have the same name -- this is a story of soulmates. For Philippa, there is no thought of escape. She knows she is responsible for the death of four people and intends to pay the price. But the drug dealer is still alive, and she intends to finish what she began. For Filipo, as he tells her, he doesn't know what will happen, but it will "be something beautiful."

The photography in this film is magical in its beauty -- the camera sweeps over the Italian landscape, and the aerial shots are breathtaking.

This is not an action film, or one in which much happens -- it's a story of love, connection, resolve, and acceptance.

The ending is ambiguous, in a way, and in another way, symbolic and ties back to the first scene in the film. When you first see the movie, the first scene will seem extraneous. It isn't. Nothing extraneous here.

You can't really label this film. It's not a conventional love story, it's not an action film, it's not really a suspense film, and people even question if it's a foreign film, though most of the dialogue is Italian. It's simply a beautiful film, with a brilliant, spare performance by Cate Blanchett. She fits herself into the tapestry of the film, adding to it, but not distracting us from it.

Beautiful and well worth seeing unless you like CGI effects, blood, violence, and profanity.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: Armand from Romania
30 April 2012

for silence. for delicate story. for perspective of love, revenge, game with past and definition of truth. for images of Tuscany. for sky, romanticism, for Cate Blanchete and Giovanni Ribisi. for exploration of limits and special May 23, for masks of society, triumph of nuances, science of details, delicate touch, drawing of characters, heavy words, basic solutions, impression of fairy-tale or touching song, aura of things, looks and common pieces as parts of a puzzle who describes shadow of feelings. more than film - a meditation. or bitter way to understand reality more than a web without sense. a fascinating meeting with a fabulous mode to say the essential phrases.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A truly romantic film for those few who understand love.

Author: vitaleralphlouis from United States
22 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching this a second time on rental from Video Vault, I wanted to see exactly why I fell so hard for Cate Blanchet, specifically in this movie. I also showed part of it to my oldest friend who said, "My God, she's beautiful." This quite true though she retains the same jeans, white T-shirt and athletic shoes wardrobe from start to finish. (Important spoilers: There is no nude scene. #2. There is no sex scene either).

Set beautifully in Italy, Cate plays a recent widow hell-bent on revenge against the man who killed her husband. In trying to destroy her enemy, she accidentally murders a man and his two young daughters, a cleaning woman; but NOT her intended target. In police custody and in deep remorse, a young policeman falls for her and plans her escape. The heart of the movie is the relationship between this young man and how he courts her and helps her at the risk of his own destruction. Give the filmmakers credit by nailing this with 100% credibility. A person would have to have once known truly strong love to have made this film.

As a mature man with plenty of experience I can tell you that I was envious in the extreme of this young man's situation every minute that Cate was on screen. This you do not get often.

From 2004 through 2008, Hollywood has offered virtually nothing for adult audiences above the age of 11. You don't have to accept their junk. There are ample movies like this one available at Netflix and elsewhere, and they don't cost $11 a person to see.

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