The Five People You Meet in Heaven (TV Movie 2004) Poster

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Reminds us of what is really important in life
Howard Schumann16 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If you enjoyed Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie, you will be pleased that his latest work, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, does not suffer in comparison. A made-for-TV movie, released this February on DVD, Five People is about how each person we meet, though appearing insignificant, are part of the vast web of interconnection that affects our life. Jon Voight plays Eddie, an 83-year old mechanic who has worked at the Ruby Pier Amusement Park all his life except for a stint in the army during World War II. The first thing we learn about Eddie is that he is dead, killed in a roller coaster accident while trying to save a little girl.

The next thing we find out is that, in heaven, Eddie will meet and talk with five people who were the most influential in his life, people Eddie would probably not think of first, but whose influence becomes slowly and painstakingly revealed. As he re-experiences traumatic events from the past, it soon becomes clear that what they share with him allows him to complete and illuminate the past. Eddie meets "The Blue Man" (Jeff Daniels), part of the sideshow at the park, his Army captain (Michael Imperioli), his wife Marguerite (Dagmara Dominczyk) who died after only a few years of marriage, the wife of the original owner of the Ruby Pier (Ellen Burstyn), and a little Filipino girl named Tala (Nicaela and Shelbie Weigel).

Each shows him how he impacted their life or they his--and not always for the better. (In these flashbacks, Callahan Brebner and Steven Grayhm play the young Eddie.). As Eddie's wartime experiences are dramatized as well as his romance and courtship with Marguerite, we learn a great deal about Eddie including the unfulfilled dreams of his youth and his subsequent disillusionment. Like Sidney Lumet's 1982 film Daniel, Kramer uses color to distinguish between past and present: black and white for the past, blue for the present, and orange for heaven. The film allows us to realize that life is not a series of random events without meaning or purpose, but that everything happens for a reason and that it is important to communicate with those we may have hurt, forgive others, and refrain from superficial and wrong-headed judgments.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is not for those who enjoy layers of complexity in their films or those looking for stylistic innovation. It is a simple story, imaginatively told and the acting and the direction far exceed what we have come to identify with TV movies of the week. The only real drawback is the sound quality that ranges from inaudible to overly loud. Some of the sentiment may be a little saccharine at times, but it is earned and there is no attempt to create emotion where none exists. I found The Five People You Meet in Heaven to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience that, like Dickens Christmas Carol, reminds us of what is really important in life.
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The best adaptation of a novel I've ever seen.
bbSouthstreet9 August 2005
On my summer reading book list one of the choices was Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet In Heaven. The story sounded interesting and there was a lot of fuss about it, so out of curiosity I decided to read the book and see for myself. The book was a stunning and fascinating piece of drama I have ever read and will always remain one of my favorite books. After finishing the book and hearing there was a movie version of it on DVD I just had to rent it. In all my life, I had never seen a movie more loyal to the book. The dialog was straight from the book, no ab libbing that was close to the story. The description was better than I pictured the images in the book. But the best part was the actors in the movie. I would have never imagined Jon Voight as Eddie Maintenance, that was a smart move. Another part that I would suggest to the people reading this review is the lesson learned in this film. Maybe your life means nothing to you, but you'd be surprised what your life means to others.
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Heartwarming and tear-jerking all at the same time!
elixntric17 December 2004
I watched this movie and thought it was such a wonderful story. It really goes through all the parts of his life and who he touched (whether he knew it or not). I would love to think that we will all have that kind of resolution when our time on Earth is done. This movie will definitely make you cry! I lost my mother when I was younger and this movie made me understand what my father went through at this time. It also gave me an idea of what it was like to fight in a war and have to live with what happened there for the rest of your life. I would absolutely recommend this movie to everyone. For all of us that think death is such an awful thing and are sad to think of those we would leave behind, it was a great way to look at what could happen after our life is over. It also gives hope that those we have lost are still watching over us.
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Attention Grabbing!
BLK5511 December 2004
I really enjoyed this movie - enough to want to see it again and/or purchase the DVD if it comes out.

My husband had read the book beforehand, but I had not. I thought it was riveting. In trying to explain the ending to my husband, I was so "into" it that I just couldn't help but cry while trying to talk. I was there emotionally, in the movie.

To me, a good movie or book is one that grips you, holds your attention. This movie did just that. I don't know that heaven will be this way or not.

My Bible doesn't say that it will be, but we all have our opinions of what we think Heaven will be like. It was a beautiful story, and said, in a nutshell, that no life is worthless. We all touch and affect people every day, sometimes in ways that we will never know in this life.

I think it's definitely a movie worth seeing!
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This was a good movie...
Sean18 January 2005
I thought this was an entertaining movie. It was a Hallmark movie, so it may not have you depply contemplating each scene, but it was essentially something you can feel comfortable watching with the family, being about worth a PG rating.

I felt it was worth my time to watch it and I enjoyed it and I highly recommend it to those who want to take a step away from movies revolving around excessive violence and poorly created stories. The acting was done well enough, it succeeds in being a tear-jerker at times (at least for my girlfriend). I actually picked up the book after watching the movie, I'm hoping it's as good or better.
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Life changing
eemingli23 July 2005
It's a great movie that really kept me glued to the show until the very end. It's really interesting and makes me think about who the 5 people i would meet in heaven in the future. It also makes me realize that whatever we do, it will affect someone, somewhere. This movie makes you want to reflect on whatever you have done in the past and makes you want to improve on whatever you can do now and in the future so that it would make the world a better place for you and your love ones.I would recommend this movie for those who feel really lost in life or is now too caught up in their busy lives to seat down and watch it and you'll find that it's inspirational and life changing.
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Wonderful ...A keeper for sure.....
hoya19608 December 2004
Its the type of movie I wished I had taped and then could delete all the commericals but then again I got to see it for free.

I plan to buy the book and DVD and then once or twice a year sit down and watch it again. Its a classic keeper.

I guess I could go on and find 285 things wrong with the TV movie but I won't and in all fairness, it was worth every minute of the three hours it was on, and I wouldn't change one frame.

Voight was at his usual best, along with Ellen Burstyn and Michael Imperioli. Scenery was excellent and well done and the period costumes were great. I look forward to reading the book.

Steven Grayhm who played young Eddie was superb also.

This movie proves that television can produce a superior product when it wants to. It just doesn't seem to want to anymore, so that make this movie one to remember for a long, long time.

This movie proves that television can produce a superior product when it wants to. It just doens't seem to want to anymore, so that make this movie one to remember for a long, long time.
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All Endings Are Also Beginning
Claudio Carvalho24 September 2008
Eddie (John Voight) is the responsible for the maintenance of the Ruby Pier amusement park and a veteran of World War II. While trying to save a five year old girl from an accident with ride that is falling after rupturing the wire, Eddie dies. He awakes in Heaven, and the Blue Man (Jeff Daniels) explains him that he will have a journey meeting five people in their heavens that will show the importance of his life before he goes to the next level.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" was a great surprise for me, with a beautiful and heartwarming message of the importance of an individual's life, following the idea of Frank Capra's masterpiece "It's a Wonderful Life", when George Bailey finds the importance of his life for the dwellers of Bedford Falls. The only problem with this contemporary movie is the too long running time, developing the story in an excessive low-pace; it could be shorter and developed in a more adequate pace. But anyway I encourage my family and friends to watch this touching movie. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "As Cinco Pessoas Que Você Encontra no Céu" ("The Five People You Meet in Heaven")
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Great Movie !!!
sdb423517 December 2004
Usually, a movie adapted from a book does not live up to expectations. I received the book last Christmas, and after reading it, I felt that if done correctly, it would make a good movie. This movie surpassed it's expectation and did the job. If a person had not read the book previous to watching the movie, it may have been hard to follow the flow. I could identify with every major event in the movie and felt the screen writers, producers, directors and actors, all did a marvelous job of bringing Mitch Albom's writings to life. I hope that sometime in the near future this movie is released to DVD format. Mitch Albom has a special gift in the fact that he is both a great talk show personality and an even greater author.
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All lives are connected, and all vocations are precious in God's eyes.
dwperdue18 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's too bad that we are now in an age of declining literacy - people who can still read but increasingly choose not to take the time or the trouble. The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a novel that I now want to read as soon as possible, after having viewed it on DVD recently.

It might be one of the better films I've seen in this new century - or the last - and what a shame that it had to be released as a TV-movie. Unlike Mr. Tyler Berry, who gave this film a poor review after watching it on television, I was able to recently watch it on DVD, w.o. commercials. Perhaps that makes the difference.

However, Hollywood also makes a majority of its movies with an idea of 100 minutes viewing time, give or take a few either way. It's tough for people to sit down and watch a film of 2 hrs. or more in length, because they're now conditioned to watch shorter vehicles.

I found Jon Voigt's performance tremendously affecting - I wanted to see how he 'did' on his journey through the highs & 'lows' of his life, and couldn't wait to meet each of the next of "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."

Jeff Daniels was a revelation as the Blue Man. I didn't recognize him at all until I went to IMDb & read the credits.

Ellen Burstyn is always worth watching, and you can tell that she - and many of the other actors, most of them 'unknowns' - had extensive stage background. They're not just movie/TV personalities - they've learned their craft.

The actress who played Margeurite gave a very poignant performance. I wondered what might happen with Eddie and her after the war.

Jon Voight's problems with his father probably resonated with all who have had difficulties with their pater, and I am one of those. The scene in the diner was very effective. Not many words were needed - just the 'picture'.

Even more effective was his scene with the young Oriental girl, whose hands help guide him towards the end of his own journey.

I would highly recommend The Five People You Meet In Heaven to all who are interested in fine acting, good story-telling, and effective drama.
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