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The Other Side of Heaven (2001)

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John Groberg, a farm kid from Idaho Falls, crosses an ocean to become a missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan islands during the 1950s.

Director:

Mitch Davis

Writers:

Mitch Davis, John H. Groberg (book)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Gorham ... John Groberg
Anne Hathaway ... Jean Sabin
Joe Folau ... Feki (as Joseph Folau)
Nathaniel Lees ... Kelepi
Miriama Smith ... Lavania
Alvin Fitisemanu Alvin Fitisemanu ... Tomasi
Peter Sa'ena-Brown ... Kuli
Whetu Fala ... Asi
Apii McKinley Apii McKinley ... Noli
Paki Cherrington Paki Cherrington ... Minister (as Te Paki Cherrington)
Jeremy Birchall Jeremy Birchall ... Edward
Ross Duncan Ross Duncan ... John's Father
Maggie Harper Maggie Harper ... John's Mother
Rick Leckinger ... Photographer
Brian Richards Brian Richards ... Crowd Member #1
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Storyline

John H. Groberg, a middle class kid from Idaho Falls, crosses the Pacific to become a Mormon missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan island kingdom during the 1950's. He leaves behind a loving family and the true love of his life, Jean. Through letters and musings across the miles, John shares his humbling and sometimes hilarious adventures with "the girl back home", and her letters buoy up his spirits in difficult times. John must struggle to overcome language barriers, physical hardship and deep-rooted suspicion to earn the trust and love of the Tongan people he has come to serve. Throughout his adventure-filled three years on the islands, he discovers friends and wisdom in the most unlikely places. John H. Groberg's Tongan odyssey will change his life forever. Written by Mary Jane Jones

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

idaho | love | missionary | 1950s | mormon | See All (37) »

Taglines:

An Epic Journey. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and brief disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Tonga

Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eye of the Storm See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,765, 16 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,720,371

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,760,014, 12 March 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rats really did eat the soles off John H. Groberg's feet; they split open when he stood up. Later in life, he was diagnosed with skin cancer on the soles of his feet. His doctor was curious about how he exposed the soles of his feet to the sun, and he explained that the treatment for his injury in Tonga had been to sear his soles with the heat of the sun. See more »

Goofs

The film starts with a dance at Brigham Young University in 1953. A couple sing the song "Rip it Up". That song was first recorded by Little Richard in 1956. See more »

Quotes

John Groberg: Tomasi, why did you help us?
Tomasi: When I was a little boy, I was orphaned. Two missionaries like you took care of me, put me in school. I had forgotten about it until the minister told us to go rough up the Mormons. Then I remembered: I am one!
[takes a swig of alcohol]
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lone Ranger
Courtesy of Golden Books Family Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

Very well-done film - recommended for just about anyone!
30 April 2013 | by the-ecstatic-emgeeSee all my reviews

It is truly a rare thing to see a film that contains a show of true strength and bravery without excessive violence...tenderness without overt sexual content...emotion without dysfunction...humor without making someone the victim. It's the best kind of drama - not white hat versus black hat, but a cast of nothing but ordinary people doing their best to do right by their loved ones, themselves, and yes, their faith. It's exciting in the way that life itself is and should be exciting - it's an adventure with a purpose, driven by the heart, and for that reason, just about unstoppable!

There are those, of course, who dislike anything that portrays a character of Mormon faith, or of any religious faith, in a positive light. For them, there is no point in seeing such a film. For the rest of us, Mormon or not (I am not Mormon myself), it's a wonderful story of human determination, and an inspired young person with a full, multifaceted life, living out an amazing, eye-opening adventure.

It does an excellent job reflecting and honoring Polynesian culture as well. As someone who has taken much time to study and experience Polynesian languages and traditions, I can tell you that there are no cheesy stereotypes here, which is great because for me, a poor representation of any indigenous culture is a total deal-breaker. This film brought me back to some island adventures of my own.

In short, if I had kids, I'd definitely want them to see this movie...but since I don't, I really enjoyed it all by myself!


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