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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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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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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This was a good movie...
sruck18 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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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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Touching but too long
Gordon-112 October 2006
This film is about a man's journey in heaven after he dies. He meets five people in heaven, each teaching him different things that he never knew or understood before.

I have read the book and was deeply touched by it. This film stays very true to the book. The film is basically a direct adaptation of the book, translating every single line of the book into audiovisual material. The end result is that there are many dialogs and scenes that simply do not work in the film. I feel that there are so many scenes that can be cut, and so many dialogs that can be omitted in the film. For example, it does not hurt the film at all if the captain does not ask if the army boys kept in touch with each other. Or the interspersed childhood scenes, which if omitted, will make the film flow more seamlessly.

This is not to say that the film is not good. It is very good, the sets are meticulously created, the acting is great, and the film is touching. My only complaint is that it is too long. Spending 40 minutes on the second person and another 40 minutes on the third person is simply too long.
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awesome movie
halley_baby051 May 2005
it's the type of movie that really makes you think about life. if you're into those types of movies (like I am) then you'll definitely love it. the filming wasn't bad but it could have been done better. Still overall I'd say it's for sure one that I'll be watching again. It's sad at some parts but the end will leave you in a happy mood (if you're at all like me). Movies like this one always make me feel a lot better about my could also see the movie What dreams may come (with Robin Williams) it's really sad but I love that movie!!!! The five people you meet in heaven is not a predictable movie like most rescent movies you can't really guess what's gonna happen next. You have to wait until the very end to find out the reason for everything. I guess that would be the point of the whole movie though...
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Lessons on how to live
ptwomey-16 December 2004
This is pure Mitch Albom. Eddie (Jon Voight) learns his lessons in heaven but these lessons are lessons to enrich the lives of the living. They are powerful yet simple lessons that are easily overlooked by all of us if we allow ourselves to become engrossed with our everyday problems. Each one of our lives touches many other lives without us being aware of the impact we may have on one another.

The acting was superb and the characters held my attention. A triumph of the heart and the human spirit. Very uplifting and entertaining. It is one of the best productions I have ever viewed. JonVoight gives a magnificent performance as a simple honest man.

Mitch Albom is pleased with it and he well should be. A rating of ten for sure.
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Faithful adaptation of the book, outstanding performances
talespinner20026 December 2004
Albom's book was one of my favorites for the year and I hoped that his screenplay would retain the spirit of the book. I was not disappointed. Voight's performance as Eddie was practically perfect. Ellen Burstyn was outstanding as Ruby and having her narrate parts of the story helped fill in some flashbacks that appeared in the book but were omitted in the film. All of the supporting players were well cast, especially Dagmara Dominczyk as Margarite and Jeff Daniels as Blue Man. I thought the cinematography was top notch and added to the presentation. Many times a book is lost in translation to film but this is not the case with The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
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Beautiful Movie
CLHJE76 December 2004
I have never read the book, always meant to just never have the time. Couldn't wait for the movie. I thought it was done so well and the acting of all everyone involved was so believable. Jon Voight was the movie. It does make you stop and think about how many people in your life time that you have touched and who by knowing you in someway their life has been better. Eddie thought his life was a failure when it wasn't at all. I only wish all movie could make you feel that way, that you that in the end you realize your life hasn't been a waste. As someone who recently lost someone that I loved very much, but never told them because you don't think that they will died I only hope that they are one of my five's Thank you for the book, the movie and Jon Voight.
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ahurlbut6 December 2004
When this book first came out, I heard so many wonderful things about it. The book is fabulous, and I found the movie to be excellent! It was so moving and wonderfully adapted, so visually appealing, and so enthralling.

Yesterday, I had read Mitch Albom's column about the making of the movie, how much it surprised him that something he had written (without specific people or a movie experience in mind) could become what it did.

This movie is definitely worth seeing and the book is also something you need to read. I will be buying this once it comes to DVD. I haven't been so touched in a movie in a very long time.
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how we affect each other even in small ways
wiateriris3 June 2005
I read Tuesday with Morrie by Mitch Albom for a counseling class. I loved the book. Then I saw the Five People you meet in heaven. My husband and 15 yr old watched the movie together. It impacted my 15 yr old. We impact each person we meet even though we may never see them again, we have made an impact in that life. We cried and laughed at the same time. Very touching, I recommend it. I could not understand at first Tala asking him to wash her, but then it did. I also read the book the next day. I noticed that both books are related in the impact we all have with each other. I enjoyed the ending, although I will not reveal it. I though Jon Voight did a great job playing Eddie. Recommend the books and the movies.
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If you have watched Big Fish, you'll definitely love this one!
pip-717 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Many people have always thought that they don't do anything significant to change the lives of other people. That's absolutely true, in our point of view but there is something that we may not expect during our entire lifetime; some uncertainties can actually lead to the fact that we DO make a difference, that's if you meet the people you may or may not recognize in heaven. This is the main theme of this truly powerful miniseries based on the book by Mitch Albom.

Even if you haven't read the book, you will be instantly enchanted by the show's believable characters, a story with unexpected twists, lavish settings and even some of the most emotional scenes to be shown on TV (that's really next to the equally powerful montage scenes from Frank Herbert's Children of Dune). Those who have watched Tim Burton's adaptation of Big Fish will also find some similarities in this show too, in terms of its whimsical, fairy tale-like narration.

Bravo to all the actors who work on Five People for bringing much joy, sadness, anger, melancholy and most importantly, everlasting love to grace the screens and should deserve much credit for such occasion. The settings differ from one scene to another as we travel through poor Eddie's spiritual journey in his entire lifetime while cleverly edited to convey each section's (in this case, five) theme and purpose despite the fact that all of them take place in completely different eras and realms. The music, too, is amazingly serene and moving, contributing much to the flow of the story as well. Perhaps, the most rewarding part of Five People is the revelations that we all feel in which Eddie finally attempts to redeem himself from the terrible things he has done and free himself from the limitation of being human. And all that can be done with only some simple but ultimately very 'human' deed without the need for fancy special effects or clumsy, cheesy pitfalls (one of the finest examples is the river scene in which Eddie washes the scars of the fifth person, the same person he burned with a flamethrower during WWII. All it requires is a tiny rock but that scene alone already captures the hearts of the audience, including mine!).

I highly recommend this not only to fans of Tim Burton or Terry Gilliam but also all the people who enjoy a really good story about an unlikely person who proves to be more special like all of us on this good old Earth.
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there are very few movies that can make my b/f cry- we were both bawling
MyOwnNarnia12 February 2005
My boyfriend brought home this DVD 2 days ago... I really didn't think it was possible to make a good movie out of "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", but I was proved wrong. It was actually very good, I liked the no-name actors that they picked, and Marguerite was gorgeous. This movie was so emotional and full of beauty that both my boyfriend and me were getting out the tissues to soak up our tears. The only things I can complain about are some of the "special effects" they use in the backgrounds (especially at the end of Eddie's meeting with his 2nd person- you know what I'm talking about). Also, "the blue man" had quite the accent (more funny then bad in my opinion).

Overall, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" was great for being a hallmark movie. Heck, it was good anyway. It was nice to have a change in movies to something more heartfelt.
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"Life has to end...Love doesn't."
treeline18 July 2009
Eddie (Jon Voight) is an old man who has spent his whole life doing maintenance at the Ruby Pier amusement park. Today, one of the rides malfunctions and threatens a child's life. As he rushes to save her, he is whisked to Heaven where he meets five people from his past - people he loved and hated, and even one he didn't know at all.

I expected this movie to be sappy and maudlin and in a way it was, but it was so well done I was quite moved by it. Eddie's trip to Heaven is much like Scrooge's in "A Christmas Carol," but instead of three ghostly guides, Eddie is met by five people who touched his life or who were affected by his and who ease his transition to the great beyond. It's a fantasy world with frightening war scenes and innocent love scenes, and while I watched I couldn't help but think of my own life, quite ordinary like Eddie's, but who knows how many I have affected for better or worse?

I tear up easily at sad movies, but this time I went far beyond sobbing; I wailed the whole time. The movie really got to me. We're all going to find out what death is like someday and I'm more than curious. Also, as I've aged and lost dear ones, I long to see them again. This is a thought-provoking, tender tale that really touched my heart.
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Felt like the book.
patbaker-120 October 2008
This movie was a pleasant surprise. The director managed to include all that was necessary to tell the story from beginning to end, yet keep it short and sweet.

Most importantly, the movie retained the pleasant, almost eerie feeling of Albom's book. Nothing syrupy: it's shown from Eddie's viewpoint.

Good, understated performances from actors that understood the message and the meaning of it all, ensemble-style. Viewer may not recognize his or her favorite stars in this one.

Five People is worth the purchase, because this film is for sharing and for viewing over and over again. In fact, it will be necessary to watch more than once to catch all the details.
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Loved it!
MaraJade-720 June 2006
I have never read the book, nor even heard of the book or this movie before. I saw it on the shelf of a local store selling DVDs last night and the title intrigued me so I bought it. I put the DVD in and began watching it as soon as I got home. It captivated my attention immediately and kept me in my seat the whole time till 12:30am when it finally ended. I caught myself crying several times, mostly near the end. I think everyone can relate to this movie, but I also think that the older you are, the more you will relate to this movie. This movie now goes on my favorite movies list. I will be encouraging my friends to watch it now, it is just that good.
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Book awesome, movie the icing on the cake
NightGoddess13 November 2005
Although the book was much better in my opinion, the movie was wonderful also. I couldn't put the book down, it pulled on my heart strings, and was very similar to how I believe things to work in the world. (everyone affecting everyone, every experience affecting everyone around it) Hey, this is one of my first posts, so don't be too hard on me if you don't agree. :) LOVED the book. Anyone read Tuesdays With Morrie yet? The book definitely has much more detail, as most "book to movies" do. The movie just helped me put it all into an image, and a good one, at that. I thought Jon Voight was perfect as the main character. Some ideas were disappointing, because most of us imagine heaven as place of miracles and happiness. This book and movie just shows us another concept of life after death.
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Live and Learn and Die and Learn Some More
vpoholek28 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
One of the best movies I've ever seen. Reminiscent of "A Christmas Carol", but protagonist is redeemed after his death.

PLOT: Man thinks he's seen and heard (and learned) everything. Then he dies. Then he revisits his past acquaintances and places, and transforms his soul.

In the beginning, you think he's a poor schmuck who never did anything right, has a bad limp, a low-paying job, etc.

Moving, gripping, touching, sad, and enlightening. Incredible idea, reminded me of "What Dreams May Come" and "The Happy Prince". Centers on lifelong-afterlife redemption, anger issues, and the value of finding peace.

When revisiting scenes from his life, you see that things were not always what they seemed. His father rescued his mother from rape, his wife died from cancer, his C.O. shot him to save him, etc.

When confronted with the little girl he accidentally killed during wartime, she forgives him. She explains what really happens, and FORGIVES him. He is reduced to tears, and begins to understand the meaning of compassion and sacrifice.
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Great Movie
dkh19673 April 2005
It has to be one of the best life affirming movies one can see. If you have thought about renting or purchasing this movie it is a keepsake.

Every person he meets he learns about himself. The mistakes he made and the chance to make things right.

I don't get emotional about movies but this one pushed the envelope on my emotions.

A great movie for families or just about anyone. It is OK for the kids to watch.

Buy it for a loved one. They will appreciate it. It will be the movie they will want to share with others.
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Well-Done Adaptation
brianagrzy2 March 2005
It's about time something like this came along. This is the only adapted screenplay I've seen where Hollywood doesn't supposedly try to "improve" it with the director's own ideas. Mitch Albom is a very smart man. He not only wrote this beautifully done novel, he also wrote the script to ensure Hollywood didn't veer too far off track. I could remember scenes from the book while I was watching the movie and remember imagining what was going on in the book while I was reading it. There were not a lot of differences between what was happening in my head and what was happening on the screen. Mitch changed the order of one or two events in the plot and left an important part of the book out of the movie. But other than that, this turned out to be a very good adaptation. I give it nine out of ten stars.
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