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Heaven Is for Real (2014)

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A small-town father must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) | 2 more credits »
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4,841 ( 207)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Michael
Thanya Romero ...
Rosa
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Ray
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Dr. O'Holleran
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Dr. Charlotte Slater
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Lee Watson
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Katherine Watson
Pete Hudson ...
Old Man Watson
Ursula Clark ...
Painting Girl
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Storyline

This is the story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. His son Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth... things he couldn't possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event. The church turns on him and so does eveyone who is closer or further to him including his wife. Written by Sony Pictures Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG thematic material including some medical situations | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

16 April 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cielo sí existe  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,522,221 (USA) (18 April 2014)

Gross:

$91,443,253 (USA) (8 August 2014)
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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Akiane Kramarik and Colton Burpo had a NDE, which allowed them having their revelations and visions. NDE is short for Near-Death Experience, a term established for the first time by doctor Raymond Moody in his 1975's book "Life After Life". In it, Moody compiled real stories about patients who by a brief time had died and later lived again. The different stories had several common points:

-To be out of the physical body.

-Float around the rooftop of the room, seeing the own body in the bedroom.

-X-rays senses, with capability to see and hear people (familiar, friends...) in the next rooms, or even long-distance senses, with capability to see and hear people far away from their own location.

-Travel by a tunnel to high speed, with a great white light at the end.

-Meet in the light parents and friends previously dead.

-See a retrospective about the own lifeline, like movie frames.

-Feel a great peace and tranquility while standing in the light.

-Feel (not see) the presence of a powerful entity look-a-like a god.

-A voice saying "It's not your time" or something similar, and return from the light.

-Have a great feeling to fall from a high altitude, returning to the physical body and finally back to life. See more »

Goofs

There is a scene in the movie that depicts the Burpo's home shaking due to a train passing by. In reality, although there are train tracks that go into Imperial, they do not pass through - they literally stop in Imperial, although the track bed was laid out for miles past the west side of the town. In addition, the Burpo's home is located at the north end of Imperial where the tracks come into town on the south side. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Todd Burpo: Is heaven a hope? Or as real as the earth and sky? I once asked my grandfather that question. And he said by the time he knew the answer, it would be too late for him to tell me. The day would come when I asked that question again, staring into the eyes of my son.
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Connections

Referenced in Nook's Nifty Nitpicks: Heaven Is for Real (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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Written by Daniel Butterfield
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User Reviews

 
A Nice Family Drama, Not Even Remotely Preachy
18 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Heaven Is for Real (1:39, PG) — borderline, 3rd string, original

You might be surprised that this film attracted an atheist activist like me. But I went to see it because — as part of my self-imposed obligation to catch EVERY science-fiction and fantasy movie that hits town so I can review them for my listserv and at SF cons — it looked like it might have some fantasy elements. I ended up classifying it as "borderline", which is where I put movies that are not clearly SF or fantasy but might be if viewed from a certain angle. This one leaves it open to interpretation whether little 4-year-old Colton Burpo actually experienced a trip to heaven while he was unconscious on the operating table at death's doorstep with a burst appendix.

The Burpos are presented as being among the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and not in any "holier than thou" sense but as solid, down-to-Earth working folk, a kind, loving, and happy family. The dad, Todd Burpo, a part-time Protestant minister in Imperial, Kansas, is humble and declines the title "Reverend", saying "Call me Todd" even to members of his own congregation. He wears a work shirt and sits in the pews with the other congregants while the church service is doing other things, like Bible readings or singing led by Todd's wife Sonja.

The skeptical attitude is clearly articulated by several different characters in the film, including Todd Burpo himself, who's obviously having trouble wrestling with and reacting to what his son has been saying about his brief sojourn in heaven. And the conclusion is not some grand revelation or depiction of the "real" heaven but rather an informal sermon in which Todd (well played by Greg Kinnear) talks thru his uncertainties and tells his fellow congregants that "on Earth as it is in heaven" means that we should each value the little bit of heaven we share when we appreciate the people who love us.

Frankly, an avowed humanist couldn't have put it much better.

Still, there's the obvious fact that little Colton has been drenched in religion for almost his entire waking life, and that such total immersion surely accounts for everything he claims to have seen. And the Burpos had been having serious financial difficulties, a not-so-subtle motive for playing Colton's story for any financial benefit it might bring. Nor does the film stint from dramatizing those perfectly naturalistic explanations.

In short, if you were expecting a piece of pious propaganda, this isn't it. It's more like a nice, non-saccharine family drama with unusual subject matter, kind of along the lines of We Bought a Zoo. On my 9-point scale, it rates a 6.


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