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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 Enduring Love. 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: You know how far that light had to travel to shine on you?
Jean Sabin: I guess I don't.
John Groberg: 92,300,000 miles, give or take. You know what else?
Jean Sabin: What?
John Groberg: I think it was worth the trip.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Field Is White (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Stirring and deeply moving
8 April 2004 | by bpolhemusSee all my reviews

I'm sorry that the adolescent ravings of the previous reviewer appear first. His profound failure to "get it" is an embarrassment.

First of all, this is about a young man of "white-bread" heritage casting aside all he has and all he is, even leaving the love of his life for two and a half years, in order to immerse himself in a culture about which he is totally ignorant so that he can offer them the greatest gift he has to offer: His faith.

Rather than "looking down" on the people he has come to SERVE, he bears great hardships, and exerts himself in ways he could never have conceived, in order to connect with these people. He comes to love them, profoundly.

And their love for him in return, even those who have reason to be suspicious of him, is a testament to his sincerity.

Please recall that this is a TRUE STORY. Whatever you might think of John Groberg's religion, or his motives, the fact is that these things actually happened in just this way. He DID travel from Idaho to Tonga, he did live among the people there, he did come to gain their trust, he did bring to them a precious gift of faith, and he did return often throughout the rest of his life, with his wife and family, to be among these people whom he loved.

That anyone could be so callously dismissive of this truth is a sad commentary on our "post-Christian" society.

But I found this film to be deeply moving and very satisfying, and I recommend it highly to those who enjoy inspiring film.


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